Masters: Francesco Molinari leads Tony Finau, Tiger Woods by two heading into Sunday

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Masters: Francesco Molinari leads Tony Finau, Tiger Woods by two heading into Sunday

Masters

Masters: Francesco Molinari leads Tony Finau, Tiger Woods by two heading into Sunday

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger roars were all the rage on Saturday at Augusta National. In the midst of the mayhem, Italy’s Francesco Molinari stepped onto the par-3 12th and casually knocked it to five inches. As he handed the club to his caddie, the reigning British Open champion cracked a forced smiled, thanked the crowd and gave a small wave.

It was start of a four-birdie run that sent Molinari racing to the top of the board. The hoopla was heaped on Tiger Woods, but the quietly brilliant Molinari posted a 6-under 66 that put him two shots clear of the field. He has carded only one bogey (No. 11 in the first round) for the week.

On a day when Augusta National gave up three 8-under 64s, Molinari leads at 13-under 203. He’ll join Tony Finau (64) and Woods (67) in the final group for what’s shaping up to a most unique and potentially explosive Masters Sunday.

Molinari, who was paired with Woods when the Italian won last year’s British Open, said he’d need to stay aggressive on Sunday.

“I wish I had only to worry about him,” said Molinari of playing alongside Woods, “but there’s a few more I think that are going to come out tomorrow and try to shoot a low one. We’ll see what the weather is going to do tomorrow.”

Players will be going off of the first and 10th tees on Sunday with the final group of Molinari, Woods and Finau getting started at 9:20 a.m. CBS will broadcast the final round live, beginning at 9 a.m.

Brooks Koepka, who has won three majors since he last played the Masters in 2017, carded a 69 to trail by three. Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, shot 64 to take a share of fifth place with Ian Poulter at 9 under.

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