Two years after believing his stellar career was over, Tiger Woods produced a vintage performance to put himself firmly in contention for a first major title since 2008 in the 83rd Masters.
But standing in his way is an inspired Open champion in the shape of Francesco Molinari, who played with Woods in the final round at Carnoustie last year on his way to lifting the Claret Jug.
Molinari, who also beat Woods three times alongside Tommy Fleetwood in compiling a perfect 5-0 record in the 2018 Ryder Cup, carded a flawless third round of 66 to finish 13 under par and has dropped just one shot all week, on the 11th hole on Thursday.
Woods is two shots back after riding his luck at times in a third round of 67, with Tony Finau alongside Woods after a brilliant 64, the third of the day after earlier efforts from Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Ryder Cup team-mate Tyrrell Hatton reacts to Francesco Molinari’s amazing record of just one bogey in 54 holes with a video of a shocked audience member from Australia’s Got Talent and three applause emojis.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I did beat him so make sure you report that, which makes me better than Rory McIlroy apparently.”
Eddie Pepperell reacts to beating marker and Augusta National member Jeff Knox, who famously outscored McIlroy in 2014.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Tony Finau was already four under for the day when he came within inches of an albatross on the par-five eighth.
ROUND OF THE DAY
Finau, Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay all shot 64, but Molinari’s flawless 66 gets the nod in the circumstances.
STATISTIC OF THE DAY
Former Golf Channel statistician Justin Ray highlights Molinari’s amazing recent run in majors, pointing out the Italian is combined for 31-under across his last 163 holes played in majors.
The fifth hole, lengthened by 40 yards for 2019, was the toughest for the second day in succession and Woods made bogey for the third straight day. Only one birdie (from Hideki Matsuyama), 27 bogeys and one double bogey resulted in a scoring average of 4.431.
The par-five 13th regained its status as the easiest hole with three eagles, 39 birdies and five bogeys meaning it played easier than the fifth with an average of 4.385.
ON THE UP
The chances of the tournament finishing on time after officials opted for an unprecedented two-tee start for the final round, with the first groups out at 0730 local time.
ON THE SLIDE
Sales of juggling balls and meditation apps after Rory McIlroy’s unusual preparation failed to get him into contention to complete the career grand slam.