Francesco Molinari had been a model of consistency through three rounds at Augusta National Golf Club this week, and with Tiger Woods needing to stage a comeback on Sunday to claim the green jacket, the reigning Open Champion was unflappable to start his round. With six consecutive pars to start his round, Molinari extended a bogey-free stretch to an unbelievable 49 holes before finally dropping a shot at the par-4 seventh.
Tiger Woods began struggling off the tee midway through his round, but Molinari bounced back with a birdie at the eighth and calmly navigated the difficult start of Amen Corner with par at the 11th. The 12th hole, however, delivered a dramatic twist to the final round.
As the winds picked up with a storm approaching Augusta, several players near the top of the leaderboard struggled to hit the tiny 12th green on the course’s signature par-3. Just before the final group approached, both Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka dropped shots into the water. Molinari had the honor in the group – and proceeded to hit a weak shot that never had a chance.
Molinari’s ball rolled back into the water, and after taking a drop, he hit a pitch that left a difficult 11-foot bogey putt. Woods, meanwhile, hit a safe shot to the center of the green, and went on to two-putt for par. Molinari missed his putt to card a double bogey, and his two-shot advantage over Woods vanished in the span of a few minutes.
Rain picked up considerably as the players walked off the green, with Woods, Molinari and Xander Schauffele tied for the lead at 11-under par. Moments later, Patrick Cantlay eagled the par-5 15th to take the lead at 12-under.
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