April 21, 2019
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Molinari leads Augusta Masters, chased by Tiger

Augusta, USA, Apr 13 (efe-epa).- The Italian golfer Francesco Molinari established himself as leader Saturday after the third day of the 2019 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia - the first major of the season.

"Today there were some mistakes, but I managed to recover and I am very happy with the putting, especially at the beginning of the round. And I played the second nine (holes) very well, which I think has made the difference," Molinari told EFE.

The Turin native added a round of -6 to the first two rounds of -2 and -5, which gave him a total of -13, two strokes ahead of the Americans Tiger Woods (-11) and Tony Finau (-11).

They are closely followed by a tight group composed of some of the best golfers in the world, such as American Brooks Keopka (-9), winner of the US Open and the PGA Championship in 2018.

"Knowing that I am here and that I can still improve things gives me more satisfaction. I am happy with the things I am doing now, but I am aware that the results are very short-lived. I am also very happy that the work we have done with my team is working," Molinari said.

The Italian will have to continue a streak of 43 consecutive holes without a bogey, and 15 birdies to keep his rivals at bay on Sunday, which will see the first group head out earlier due to expected storms later in the day.

Molinari will tee off with Finau and Woods. The Italian also played with Woods on the final day of the 2018 British Open, which Molinari won.

"I find myself in this situation again. It's a pleasure to play with him and be in this position in such an important tournament. The key will be to focus on my things and what I can control in the field," said the Italian.

Woods is chasing his first Masters win since 2005.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in contention here. But then again, the last two majors count for something. I’ve been in the mix with a chance to win major championships in the last two years. And that helps,” he said, according to the tournament's website.

To earn a place in the top group along with Molinari and Woods, Finau equaled the record of 30 shots in nine holes in the Masters and scored a spectacular round of eight shots under par.

“I’ve dreamed of playing in the final group with [Woods] in a major championship,” said Finau, who will see his dream come true Sunday.

jlg/jsg/tw

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