Sport

Finau rockets into Masters lead with blistering front nine

Finau rockets into Masters lead with blistering front nine”

You saw Woods step into that birdie at No. 16 on Saturday the way a 46-year-old Nicklaus stepped into his at No. 17 in 1986.

Woods, who last slipped on the Green Jacket in 2005, will start Sunday's final round with Molinari and Tony Finau. But this has the potential to be one of those mystical days when logic is overshadowed by the awesome vision of true greatness.

Italian Molinari carded an error-free 67 for his best round in eight Masters that put the British Open champion in contention for a Green Jacket to go along with the Claret Jug he hoisted a year ago.

"The greens are a little bit slower than we're used to", Koepka said in response to those four bogeys. After a flawless opening round, Koepka had two bogeys and a double in his first six holes on Friday but the twice U.S. Open champion was able to regain his composure, steadying himself with six straight pars from the ninth.

What's happened to the 36 year old from Turin over the past year is truly extraordinary.

The world No.7 hit a hot streak past year and held off a resurgent Woods in the 2018 Open at Carnoustie to clinch his maiden major title.

Scott now sits six shots back, with Day a further stroke behind, after both bogeyed the 18th. He looked like he was losing touch but, as he invariably does, found an extra gear with an eagle at the 15th to be just three adrift.

Woods winning the Masters two years after he told everyone that he was done with competitive golf, that he was merely hoping to someday escape his debilitating back pain and play with his kids, would stand among the enduring stories in the modern history of American sports. The gains came late at the 13th and the 15th before the best of them at the 18th.

When the all clear came half an hour later, Woods missed the birdie putt, and squandered another birdie chance under persistent drizzle on the 13th. "Plenty of room for a green jacket, I know that", Finau said with a smile.

Because of the change in starting times, Finau gets to play alongside Woods - his golfing hero - not only at the last group in a major, but at the Masters.

As for Rory McIlroy, the career Grand Slam might need to wait another year. He played in the final group at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills alongside Koepka, eventually finishing tied fifth - one of three top tens that he made in the majors and he also made the cut in the other. I wish I only had to worry about him. On the plus side, he showed the golf world how not to celebrate a hole-in-one during the Par 3 Contest.

Tiger Woods entered the third round just one shot off the lead after shooting a fantastic round of four-under par on Friday. He was particularly happy to finish, especially after storms moved into the area and stopped play right after his tee shot into 5 feet on the risky par-3 12th.



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