Masters Latest: Molinari takes 2-shot lead into final round
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on the third round of the Masters (all times local):
Francesco Molinari was one many players who enjoyed the conditions at Augusta National during a birdie barrage in the third round of the Masters.
The Italian shot a bogey-free, 6-under 66 and has a two-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round. He’s at 13-under for the tournament.
Tiger Woods (67) and Tony Finau (64) are tied for second at 11-under and will join Molinari in the final group. Brooks Koepka shot a 69 and is three shots back. Webb Simpson (64) and Ian Poulter (68) are four back.
Woods thrilled the crowds in Augusta with another vintage performance. He’s certainly in the hunt, but has never won a major when trailing going into the final round.
The third-round conditions were nearly perfect with plenty of sunshine, very little wind and forgiving greens thanks to recent rain.
Tee times Sunday were pushed to the morning because of possible severe weather, and players will tee off in threesomes from the No. 1 and No. 10 so all players finish before the expected storms.
Tiger Woods briefly claimed a share of the Master lead, only to have Francesco Molinari grab it all to himself a few minutes later.
Four-time winner Woods rolled in a 7-foot birdie putt at the 16th, sending roars cascading across Augusta National as he moved to 11-under for the tournament. That was good enough at the time to pull even with Tony Finau and Molinari, the reigning British Open champion.
But back at the 14th hole, Molinari made an 8-foot putt for his third straight birdie, pushing his score to 12 under.
The 43-year-old Woods hasn’t won the green jacket since 2005, and he’s been seeking his 15th major title since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.
Look what Tony Finau can do when he doesn’t dislocate his ankle during the par-3 contest at the Masters.
The 29-year-old American became the third player to shoot an 8-under 64 in the third round of the Masters. He turned in a bogey-free round that includes six birdies and an eagle at No. 8, giving him a one-stroke lead when he left the course.
Xander Schauffele of the United States and Italy’s Francisco Molinari, the reigning British Open champion, are both at 10 under and playing the back nine.
Finau’s brilliant round matched Webb Simpson and early starter Patrick Cantlay. It’s the first time three players have shot 64 or better in a single round of the Masters.
The tournament record is 63.
Until now, Finau was best known at Augusta for dislocating his ankle a year ago while celebrating an ace in the par-3 tournament that precedes the Masters. He went on to finish in a tie for 10th.
This is a tradition unlike any other for the Masters — an early start Sunday with hopes of finishing ahead of thunderstorms.
Players will start in threesomes on the first and 10th tees, with the first group out at 7:30 a.m. The leaders will tee off at 9 a.m., about six hours earlier than a typical Sunday at Augusta National.
Assuming there are no delays, the final round should end about 2:30 p.m.
CBS Sports will broadcast the final round starting at 9 a.m.
Club chairman Fred Ridley says an early start gives the tournament the best chance to avoid rain and end on Sunday. The Masters has not gone to a Monday finish since Seve Ballesteros won in 1983.
Tony Finau continues to take advantage of forgiving conditions at Augusta National, taking a two-shot lead at 11-under after a birdie on No. 15.
He’s one of several players who are having success during the third round of the Masters. Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay both shot an 8-under 64, just one shot away from tying the Masters record.
Finau is already at 8-under for the day through 16 holes, giving him a chance at making history.
Simpson, Xander Schauffele and Francesco Molinari are two shots behind Finau. Tigers Woods, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka are three back.
Tony Finau and Webb Simpson both made eagles during their third round at the Masters, helping them make big gains on the leaderboard.
Finau hit his second shot on the par-5 No. 8 to within eight inches of the cup for an easy eagle putt. Simpson made a 37-foot putt for eagle on No. 13.
Finau now leads the tournament at 9-under and Simpson, Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott and Brooks Koepka are one shot back.
There could be several low scores at Augusta National today. There is little wind, and recent rain has led to a softer course with more forgiving greens.
Patrick Cantlay leaped up the leaderboard with an 8-under 64, the low round of this Masters so far.
Cantlay, who began the day nine shots off the lead, moved to within a shot of a group of leaders who had yet to tee off when he finished. He got up and down from the fairway on the 18th hole to finish off a bogey-free round.
Playing in his third Masters, Cantlay made four birdies on the front nine and four on the back to move to 6-under for the tournament. He moved up 43 spots on the leaderboard after beginning the day in a tie for 50th.
Cantlay’s previous best round at Augusta National was a 71.
Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson began his third round with a par on No. 1.
The 48-year-old Mickelson started Saturday three shots behind the leaders on a crowded leaderboard that includes a five-way tie for first place.
Several other big names are scheduled to begin their third round within the next hour, including Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Brooks Koepka.
Patrick Cantlay was one of the big movers so far during the third round. He was 7-under for the day through 15 holes which put him two shots behind the leaders.
Jordan Spieth had an encouraging start to his third round after a birdie on No. 1.
Those good feelings didn’t last long. He sent his tee shot on No. 2 way to the right and into the trees, setting off a tough chain of shots that eventually resulted in a double bogey.
He recovered with a birdie on No. 3, but the inconsistent play has kept him away from the top of the leaderboard.
Spieth, the 2015 Masters Champion, is at even-par for the tournament, seven shots behind the leaders.
Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen are in a five-way tie for the lead. They are all scheduled to tee off Saturday between 2:25 and 2:45 p.m.
Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Justin Harding and Xander Schauffele are all one shot back.
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