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Molinari won’t look back as he takes on Tiger for Masters crown

15 April 2019
Molinari won’t look back as he takes on Tiger for Masters crown

He won the Open Championship previous year, but this will be a little different as we are going out in threeballs tomorrow and he will be in the Tiger Woods group. The leaders - Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau and Tiger Woods - are scheduled to tee off at 9:20 a.m.

The 29-year-old was eight shots off the lead as he signed his card, but low scores were the order of the day and the four-time major victor was certain to be too far back to mount a challenge on Sunday.

Patrick Cantlay and Ian Poulter are four shots back.

Woods noted that three of his four Masters victories - in 1997, 2001 and 2002 opened with rounds of 70.

He took the lead with just three holes to play after a birdie putt on the par-5 15th hole.

"That helps", he said.

"Whether it's wet or it starts to blow and it rains, it's going to turn into a whole different golf course", Finau said. "If you drop shots there, then it kind of changes the whole round".

"WOOOOOOO!" Woods screamed as he headed for the scoring room with chants of "Tiger!"

"He touched me!" a young boy beamed to his dad.

British Open victor Oosthuizen also joined the party with a 68, while world number two Dustin Johnson returned a two-under 70 who to join Woods at six-under. "I wish I only had to worry about him", Molinari said of Woods. "He was Michael Jordan".

He flew to Augusta for the Masters Champions Dinner and confided in one of his fellow diners: "I'm done".

When the third round begins, Woods will be chasing five players who have combined for seven major titles - or half of his total of 14.

"I was massively nervous from the excitement", Francesco recalled for Golf.com. "It was a nice day, I enjoyed myself and hopefully there is more to come". "It was golf on another planet".

Woods has entered The Masters' final round at -11 or better four other times in his career.

The stormy weather will provide an ominous backdrop for Woods, Molinari and Finau in a hugely anticipated showdown that has even attracted the attention of United States president Donald Trump. It's a strategy that wouldn't work for many players because it puts too much pressure on a part of the game that has been all but forgotten in the driver-wedge power game favoured on tour nowadays.

Sitting next to Woods, Finau was star struck, and it sounded as if he might have to dial some of that admiration back on Sunday. Woods was listed among the top tier of contenders, closing at around 12-1.

He finished at 13 under par.

Finau is one potentially magical round away. The field combined to shoot 80-under on Saturday, the lowest in tournament history. The wind has picked up at Augusta National over the last few hours with potential thunderstorms bearing down on the course. Playing conservatively to avoid the water on the par-5, Molinari found himself with what should have been a simple third shot onto the green.

He methodically rolled in putts of six, eight and nine feet to birdie the next three - and maintained his two-shot edge by getting up and down for par from a bunker at 18. "We're going to play at the same time and I just need to do my things and do them well and see if that's going to be good enough".

"It's been a while since I've been in contention here", said Woods. "I was able to do that, and I tried to keep the ball below the hole as best as I possibly could".

Augusta can be handled in many ways.

Tiger Woods briefly pulled one shot behind Molinari after a birdie on No. 3, but fell back to three behind after bogeys on Nos.