Woods 'blessed' to have chance to win The Open

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Reputed to be the toughest links in golf, especially in the 20 miles per hour gusts that finally arrived Sunday, Molinari stopped playing the Dunhill Links Championship because that one stop on the three-course rotation ate him up. "I've had a career's worth in a few years", said Spieth, who admitted he found it "difficult" to hand over the Claret Jug when he arrived in Carnoustie on Monday. "I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling".

Then three holes later, Woods two-putted for birdie at number 14 and there he was, right at the top of the giant yellow leaderboards dotted all around Carnoustie, tied for the lead with five players at 6 under. He made double-bogey on the 11th after needing four shots to reach the green.

"It will be more hard tomorrow in the wind for sure", Spieth, who launched his third round with an eagle after driving the first green and then took full advantage of the flawless scoring conditions, told reporters. He opened with 13 pars, including the 12th and 13th holes as Woods lost the lead with a double bogey and a bogey. Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose each made a run with eagles on the par-5 14th hole, McIlroy with a 50-foot putt, Rose with a second shot that bounced off the base of the pin. "It will be interesting to see going forward, but this was his first taste of major championship - of the drama, I guess, for quite a while (of the final round)".

"I've just thoroughly enjoyed being here", Locke said.

Molinari closed with a 69, significant for two reasons.

Kisner, who led after the first round and was a co-leader after the second round, parred his last four holes for a 68. "He's been working his butt off", Spieth said.

He was pumping his fist and even raised a two-fingered V for victory to the gallery at the fourth as he sank a long birdie putt to move to three off the lead. So I was happy with my score. "I picked up where I left off and it was a great day's work".

Molinari teamed up with his brother Edoardo in the Ryder Cup in 2010 and scored a half point against Woods to secure outright victory in his singles match in the 2012 competition in Chicago, dubbed the "Miracle of Medinah" after Europe fought back to win from a seemingly impossible position. Westwood beat everyone else by nine shots in the HSBC Champions and lost by one to Molinari.

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Woods may have struggled to make par on the first but from then on some of his golf resembled that of him at his peak, back when he appeared to be on another level entirely compared to his rivals. They had their chance at glory two decades ago. He saved par with 8-foot putts on the 12th and 13th, two of the most pivotal putts all day.

Now, Italy has the champion golfer of the year.

Without a bogey in his last two rounds on the windswept Scottish links, Molinari was a worthy victor who arrived at Carnoustie with two victories and two seconds in his past five starts this season. Really good sportsmanship with me.

"I had an easyJet flight at 9am to get back home, so I think that's gone", said the London-based golfer when asked how he meant to celebrate. And now it's moving in the right direction.

"He's always been a great player", McIlroy said.

"Just disbelief, to be honest", the 35-year-old said.

Leaders are on the range at the British Open, where they will be greeted by warm breezes in the final round at Carnoustie.

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