Masters 2019: Francesco Molinari leads Tiger Woods and Tony Finau by two


Masters 2019: Francesco Molinari has ‘one of the rounds of his life’ to lead by two
Masters third-round leaderboard
-13: F Molinari (Ita); -11: T Finau (US), T Woods (US); -10: B Koepka (US); -9: W Simpson (US), I Poulter (Eng); -8: L Oosthuizen (SA), J Harding (SA), X Schauffele (US), M Kuchar (US), D Johnson (US); -7: A Scott (Aus), R Fowler (US)
Selected others: -6: P Mickelson (US); -4: T Fleetwood (Eng), J Spieth (US); -1: R McIlroy (NI). Full leaderboard

Open champion Francesco Molinari will take a two-shot lead over Tiger Woods and Tony Finau into the final round of the Masters at Augusta National.

Italian Molinari holed four successive birdies on the second nine to card a 66 and finish on 13 under as he looks to win a second major.

Woods, who won the last of his four Green Jackets in 2005, had a five-under 67 to move second with fellow American Finau, who was one of three players to hit a sensational 64.

Three-time major winner Brooks Koepka is a shot further back after a 69, while England’s Ian Poulter carded a 68 to remain in the hunt at nine under.

Tee times for Sunday’s final round have been brought forward because of anticipated thunderstorms.

Players will be grouped in threesomes, with the first group set to start at 12:30 BST and the leaders at 14:20.

There will be uninterrupted live coverage of the final day on BBC Two from 13:55, with additional coverage starting at 12:30 online.

Masters 2019: Rickie Fowler & Francesco Molinari feature in best shots of day three

Molinari shows champion form

Molinari went quietly about his business, making two birdies on the first nine, and a run of four from the 12th on the second nine. The roars were appreciative, rather than loud.

But the Italian has now gone 43 holes without dropping a shot and that is champion material.

He played with Woods in the final round when he won The Open at Carnoustie last July. Playing with Woods at Augusta, even with a two-shot start, will be a very different challenge.

Patrons roar Woods birdies

‘They’ll hear that roar around the world’ – Woods hit back-to-back birdies

Woods parred the first four holes before dropping a shot at the newly-extended par-four fifth for the third day running.

However, three birdies at the next three holes got the 14-time major winner, and the patrons, interested. The roar that greeted his next birdie at the par-five 13th echoed across the course.

Patrons were still streaming down the hill on the 15th when he holed a short birdie putt, after a deft chip from the back of the green. The volume that greeted that was up a further notch.

Those without seats shuffled round to the 16th green, hundreds jammed in to a tiny corner. Most can’t have seen the tee shot, fewer still where it landed but the ear-splitting whoops and hollers told you it was close.

They say there is no roar like a Tiger roar at Augusta. And the one that followed his tap-in birdie at 16 reverberated around the Georgia pines. Nobody on the course could have missed that one.

This is the fifth time Woods has shot 205 or fewer after three rounds at the Masters. He won the previous four.

Poulter, who was playing with fellow 43-year-old Woods, opened with seven pars and two birdies and holed three more on his second nine, his only bogey coming on the 11th.

It was a terrific round from Poulter considering he also had to deal with being in the bubble of a super-charged Augusta crowd who are willing Woods to break his decade-long major drought.

Simpson, Koepka & Johnson also in contention

Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, was another of the three to post a 64 – one shot off the course record jointly held by Nick Price and Greg Norman – as he moved to nine under, level with Poulter.

They will play the final round with Koepka who had four bogeys in a 69.

World number two Dustin Johnson is among five players on eight under after a 70, while Rickie Fowler shot a 68 to reach seven under.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood had a solid 70 to move to four under, alongside 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth who has picked up seven shots in two rounds following an opening 75.

Matt Fitzpatrick is also moving in the right direction, adding a 68 to Friday’s 67 to reach three under.

But Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy told BBC Sport he made “too many mistakes” as his hopes of winning a first Masters title disappeared with a one-under 71 that left him one under par for the tournament.

Masters 2019: Tony Finau takes the outright lead on 10 under with a birdie on the 13th hole