Tiger Woods stars at Augusta but faces final round battle with Francesco Molinari in race for 83rd Masters


Tiger Woods stars at Augusta but faces final round battle with Francesco Molinari in race for 83rd Masters

Two years after believing his stellar career was over, Tiger Woods produced a vintage performance to put himself firmly in contention for a first major title since 2008 in the 83rd Masters.

But standing in his way is an inspired Open champion in the shape of Francesco Molinari, who played with Woods in the final round at Carnoustie last year on his way to lifting the Claret Jug.

Francesco Molinari has been in fine form at Augusta

Molinari, who also beat Woods three times alongside Tommy Fleetwood in compiling a perfect 5-0 record in the 2018 Ryder Cup, carded a flawless third round of 66 to finish 13 under par and has dropped just one shot all week, on the 11th hole on Thursday.

“I wish I only had to worry about him but there are a few more that are going to try to shoot a low round so it’s going to be exciting,” Molinari said.

Woods is two shots back after riding his luck at times in a third round of 67, with Tony Finau alongside Woods after a brilliant 64, the third of the day after earlier efforts from Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay.

It is the first time that multiple rounds of 64 or lower have been recorded in the same week and more history will be made on Sunday, with the final round starting from both the first and 10th tees due to forecast thunderstorms in late afternoon.

The players will be sent out in groups of three from 0730 local time (1230 BST), with the final group getting under way at 0920 local time (1420 BST).

“I’m playing for my fifth (green jacket) but I’m trying to win a golf tournament at the end of the day,” said Woods, who revealed he faces a 4am alarm call in order to get his body ready for the final round. “It’s about going out there and executing under pressure.”