The Masters - R3

Molinari has second Major title in his sights

April 11-14
Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia
$11,000,000
Live leaderboard
Round 1, Round 2, Round 4

Reigning Race to Dubai Champion Francesco Molinari will take a two-shot lead into the final round at The Masters Tournament, where he will go up against Tiger Woods once again as the battle for the Green Jacket intensifies at Augusta National Golf Club.

Molinari has second Major title in his sights, © Getty Images

© Getty Images


“Very, very happy again. I thought maybe I played slightly better yesterday, but today, mentally was very good. Made two big putts on four and five to save pars, and then kind of got going from there.

“I played the back nine probably as good as I’ve ever played over here, so really pleased about that. And then a good save on 18, so nice to keep another clean scorecard.

“My plan for tomorrow is to go out and do the same, but I think there’s going to be a few guys trying to mess up with my plan.

“The favorite is probably the golf course out there waiting for us. We are all very close. Obviously, it’s nice to be a little bit ahead, but you might just need one hole to change. You never know how it’s going to go, especially around a course like here.”

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The Italian’s bogey-free round of 66 took him to 13 under par, ahead of American European Tour member Tony Finau – whose eight under par 64 was the joint lowest round of the day – and four-time Masters winner Woods, who Molinari played alongside as he triumphed in The Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links last summer.

“I got off to a nice start,” said Finau. “I was happy to make birdie on one. I hit two great shots and a putt that just barely lipped in on one and was kind of off to the races there. A couple of tap‑ins on two and three and I was just on my way, I kind of got in that zone.

“I looked up at the leaderboard, and I knew I just needed to keep making birdies, because I knew they were going to have a lot of opportunities, the guys that were playing well. I was happy to post the number I did, but more than anything, just keep my foot on the gas pedal and not let off. I’m well in contention, and I’m happy about that.”

The trio are grouped together for what is set up to be an enthralling – but early – final day, with the players going off two tees in three balls, and play starting at 7.30 am in a bid to beat forecasted afternoon storms.

Molinari will join an illustrious group if he triumphs in the first Major of the season, as only four reigning Open champions have won The Masters – Arnold Palmer (1962), Seve Ballesteros (1980), Tom Watson (1981) and Woods (2001).


But the 36-year-old will have to stay ahead of a packed leaderboard on Sunday, with three-time Major winner Brooks Koepka just three shots off the lead and one behind Finau and Woods at ten under par, and England’s Ian Poulter one shot further back alongside 2012 U.S. Open Champion Webb Simpson.

“I can only do what I can do at this point,” said Poulter. “I need to make some birdies tomorrow. The greens are soft, this course is receptive. We’re all out early tomorrow, so we’re all on the golf course and we’re going to know what is happening. If someone is going low we’re going to see it. Just got to go as low as you can go and see what happens.

“I birdied 13, 15 and obviously the last. I had a couple of other opportunities, which I didn’t take. Didn’t up and down 11, which was frustrating really going in with seven iron. Should have hit it in the middle of the green, didn’t, pushed it a little bit. Paid the price for the only mistake of the day.

“Tee to green I’m playing well. Just need to hole a couple more putts and hopefully I’ll have a chance.”

Masters debutant Justin Harding and fellow South African and 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen are amongst a group of five players at eight under par.


Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
R2
R3
Total
1
Francesco Molinari
-13
70
67
66
203
T2
Tony Finau
-11
71
70
64
205
T2
Tiger Woods
-11
70
68
67
205
4
Brooks Koepka
-10
66
71
69
206
T5
Webb Simpson
-9
72
71
64
207
T5
Ian Poulter
-9
68
71
68
207
T7
Matt Kuchar
-8
71
69
68
208
T7
Justin Harding
-8
69
69
70
208
T7
Xander Schauffele
-8
73
65
70
208
T7
Dustin Johnson
-8
68
70
70
208
T7
Louis Oosthuizen
-8
71
66
71
208
T12
Rickie Fowler
-7
70
71
68
209
T12
Adam Scott
-7
69
68
72
209
T14
Patrick Cantlay
-6
73
73
64
210
T14
Thorbjorn Olesen
-6
71
71
68
210
T14
Justin Thomas
-6
73
68
69
210
T14
Phil Mickelson
-6
67
73
70
210
T14
Jon Rahm
-6
69
70
71
210
T14
Jason Day
-6
70
67
73
210
T20
Bubba Watson
-5
72
72
67
211
T20
Lucas Bjerregaard
-5
70
72
69
211
T22
Jordan Spieth
-4
75
68
69
212
T22
Tommy Fleetwood
-4
71
71
70
212
T22
Corey Conners
-4
70
71
71
212
T25
Henrik Stenson
-3
74
72
67
213
T25
Hideki Matsuyama
-3
75
70
68
213
T25
Matthew Fitzpatrick
-3
78
67
68
213
T25
Cameron Smith
-3
70
74
69
213
T25
Kevin Tway
-3
72
71
70
213
T25
Patton Kizzire
-3
70
70
73
213
T31
Aaron Wise
-2
75
71
68
214
T31
Marc Leishman
-2
72
72
70
214
T31
Si Woo Kim
-2
72
72
70
214
T31
Kyle Stanley
-2
72
72
70
214
T31
Viktor Hovland (a)
-2
72
71
71
214
T31
Charley Hoffman
-2
71
71
72
214
T31
Kevin Kisner
-2
69
73
72
214
T31
Bryson DeChambeau
-2
66
75
73
214
T39
Takumi Kanaya (a)
-1
73
74
68
215
T39
Rory McIlroy
-1
73
71
71
215
T39
Keegan Bradley
-1
76
68
71
215
T39
Gary Woodland
-1
70
71
74
215
T43
Jimmy Walker
E
72
72
72
216
T43
J.B. Holmes
E
70
72
74
216
T43
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
E
69
72
75
216
T43
Charles Howell III
E
73
67
76
216
T47
Kevin Na
1
71
73
73
217
T47
Alvaro Ortiz (a)
1
73
71
73
217
T47
Patrick Reed
1
73
70
74
217
T50
Devon Bling (a)
2
74
73
71
218
T50
Keith Mitchell
2
72
74
72
218
T50
Tyrrell Hatton
2
73
73
72
218
T50
Satoshi Kodaira
2
75
70
73
218
T50
Andrew Landry
2
72
73
73
218
T50
Rafa Cabrera Bello
2
73
70
75
218
T50
Bernhard Langer
2
71
72
75
218
T57
Eddie Pepperell
3
74
73
72
219
T57
Branden Grace
3
72
75
72
219
T57
Martin Kaymer
3
73
74
72
219
T57
Haotong Li
3
72
74
73
219
T61
Emiliano Grillo
4
72
75
73
220
T61
Zach Johnson
4
74
73
73
220
T63
Billy Horschel
5
72
75
74
221
T63
Trevor Immelman
5
74
72
75
221
65
Alex Noren
6
75
72
75
222
CUT
Sandy Lyle
4
73
75
148
CUT
Stewart Cink
4
76
72
148
CUT
Justin Rose
4
75
73
148
CUT
Kevin O’Connell (a)
4
77
71
148
CUT
Mike Weir
4
72
76
148
CUT
Danny Willett
4
75
73
148
CUT
Sergio Garcia
4
73
75
148
CUT
Adam Long
5
75
74
149
CUT
Brandt Snedeker
5
75
74
149
CUT
Fred Couples
5
78
71
149
CUT
Charl Schwartzel
5
77
72
149
CUT
Shugo Imahira
6
76
74
150
CUT
Larry Mize
7
77
74
151
CUT
Shane Lowry
7
78
73
151
CUT
Matt Wallace
8
75
77
152
CUT
Jovan Rebula (a)
8
73
79
152
CUT
Michael Kim
10
76
78
154
CUT
Paul Casey
10
81
73
154
CUT
Vijay Singh
12
80
76
156
CUT
Ian Woosnam
12
80
76
156
CUT
Jose Maria Olazabal
13
78
79
157
CUT
Angel Cabrera
13
82
75
157