Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger lurking
AUGUSTA, Ga. --Italy's Francesco Molinari shot 6-under 66 to hold first place after the third round of the Masters on a day that Tiger Woods moved to a share of the lead briefly Saturday, April 13, at Augusta National Golf Club.
Despite three pars to end his round, Molinari sits at 13-under 203 and holds a two-shot lead on Woods and Tony Finau going to Sunday's final round.
Woods surged into a tie for the lead with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, capped by a 5-foot putt on the 16th hole. He finished the round with 67.
Shortly after Woods reached 11 under, Molinari moved alone to the top with his third straight birdie when he rolled in a putt on No. 14.
Finau posted 64 to rise to 11 under. He didn't convert on the final three holes with pars.
Brooks Koepka shot 69 and is alone in fourth place at 10 under.
Webb Simpson shot 64 to move to 9 under. He's joined by England's Ian Poulter, who posted 68.
Sunday's final round has been revamped because of weather concerns, creating some unprecedented moves by tournament officials. Two tees will be used and there will be threesomes, with leaders beginning before 9:30 a.m. and a goal of completing the round by mid-afternoon.
Finau played the round's first eight holes in 6 under, capped by an eagle 3 on the par-5 eighth hole. He birdied the hole the first two rounds.
"I know it's a golf course I can score on," Finau said.
For Finau, it required some patience the first couple of rounds. He said he sensed he had a low number in him.
"I like how I've played thus far," he said. "I'm draining it really good."
Xander Schauffele (70) is among five players at 8 under. Schauffele said he has developed a comfort level considering what's at stake and roars from the galleries coming from around the course.
"There's so much noise around just trying to play golf," Schauffele said. "And this year I felt I did a better job sort of hushing it down and sticking to ready golf."
Matt Kuchar (68) moved to 8 under to stay in contention. As a Georgia Tech golfer, he was the tournament's low amateur in 1998.
"I feel good about the way I've been playing this year," Kuchar said. "And certainly coming into this week. So hoping to continue the good play."
Saturday had become an historic day in the Masters with the third round beginning with five golfers tied for the top spot and four others a stroke back. The tournament's leader board had never been so crowded at that stage.
There was an early buzz created by Patrick Cantlay, whose 64 was the best score of the Masters this year although the mark was later matched.
Cantlay was tied for 50th after two rounds, but he exited the course just one shot out of the lead and enters the final round tied for 14th and seven shot backs.
He didn't have a bogey in the round. His previous best mark in the Masters was a 71.