Tiger-mania at Augusta as Woods, Molinari battle for Green Jacket

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Tiger Woods battles for the Green Jacket with Italian Molinari

‘Tiger-mania’ is again reaching fever pitch as Italian Francesco Molinari has set up another final round showdown with Tiger Woods for a major title at the Augusta Masters.

Woods is chasing his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open, and first Green Jacket since claiming his fourth in 2005.

Even United States President Donald Trump, who has golfed with Woods at his Mar-a-Lago resort, said on Twitter he was looking forward to Sunday’s final round.

“Great playing by @TigerWoods (at the) @TheMasters. Tomorrow will be a big and exciting day for golf and for sports. Many fantastic players in the hunt. Ratings Gold – Good luck to all!,” tweeted Trump.

However, Molinari has an advantage over the American as he led the score board two shots clear, with 13 under.

It has been an almost flawless Masters for Molinari, who has carded just a single bogey through three rounds. The Italian turned in another error-free effort in Saturday’s third round, signing for a six-under 66 to top the leaderboard at 13-under.

Woods also electrified the massive galleries with a five-under 67, his best score at Augusta National since 2011 when he shot rounds of 66 and 67.

“He (Woods) obviously loves this place and he’s playing great golf,” said Molinari. “So I’m aware that it’s not going to be easy tomorrow, I can just do my best.

“But it’s not like I can only worry about him. There’s a lot of guys I think in with a chance.”

Woods and Molinari will be accompanied in the final round by Tony Finau, who matched Woods’s 11-under total with a dazzling eight-under 64 that featured a Masters record-equalling front nine of six-under 30.

Lurking one shot further back is twice U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who scrapped his way to a three-under 69 to trail Molinari by three.

With the forecast calling for heavy rain and thunderstorms late on Sunday officials have decided to send golfers off in threesomes from both the first and 10th tees rather than traditional pairs in an attempt to get the final round completed and avoid a Monday finish to the year’s first major.

Woods was in contention on the final day at the last two majors but was unable to get over the line. He led on the back nine of the British Open before being overtaken by Molinari and finished runner-up at last year’s PGA Championship.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in contention here,” said Woods. “But then again the last two majors counts for something.

“I’ve been in the mix with a chance to win major championships in the last two years and so that helps,” Woods said.


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