We’re set up for another Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari back-nine duel at The Masters. Here’s what you’ve missed.

We’re set up for another Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari back-nine duel at The Masters. Here’s what you’ve missed.

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It’s somewhat circuitous and flimsy logic, but there’s a parallel universe where we’re all discussing the third leg of another Tiger Slam right now. In his return season last year, Tiger had near missed at the Open Championship at Carnousite and at the PGA Championship in St. Louis. Two weekend runs at a major, but coming up just short in the end.

The men that won both of those events? Francesco Molinari and Brooks Koepka.

Let’s just run it all back in one crazy back nine at Augusta National, shall we?

Molinari leads Tiger and Koepka by just one as we’re about to turn to the back nine. Here’s what you’ve missed so far today, and what to follow over the next couple of hours as we head to the finish.

Frankie Molinari’s been rocksteady, but we might be starting to see a couple of cracks

There perhaps not might be a worse guy to have to play catch-up against in golf right now that Molinari. There’s an argument, maybe an easy one, that’s he’s the best player in the world at the moment. He’s a brilliant ballstriker that hits it on the screws consistently, meaning he should be less prone to Sunday nerves than others. Oh, and his scrambling has been unreal. Up until the 7th today, he went 49 holes without a bogey. Nineteen straight up-and-downs! At the Masters! That’s robot stuff!

The counter to that? It’s not super-sustainable. Through the front nine, we’ve seen Molinari get shaky off the tee — with a dreaded two-way miss that has brought down many on a major Sunday. He’s not hitting it as well as he normally does, but still scoring. Watch and see if that holds up down the stretch.

Tiger’s putter let him down in the middle of the front nine

Real simple statement: Big Cat’s easily having the best day tee-to-green of any player in the mix to win.

Woods is just one behind, but he might be out front or level with Molinari if a few mid-range misses had gone down on holes 4, 5, and 6. Tiger had a run of 8-12ish foot putts on those holes for par, par, and birdie respectively. All missed low side. As we progress down the stretch, those misses will matter — and it’s worth watching.

Can anyone else make noise?

Brooks Koepka could make it three out of the last four majors, and he’s far from out of it just two behind Molinari and one behind Woods as I’m writing this. Tony Finau’s level with him at 11-under. Ian Poulter and Patrick Cantlay are at 10-under, but will start running out of holes shortly.

Between the leaders negotiating Amen Corner, and those ahead on the par-fives at 13 and 15, we’ll probably throw one more name into this that isn’t pondered here.

Oh, and yeah — there’s a chance we might not be able to finish.

The split tee, early start was implemented to beat severe storms and rain coming in this afternoon. The discussed ETA has been 3pm, but to an untrained eye things look to be coming in ahead of schedule on radar. It’s going to be a race to get finished in time, and it’s possible we end up in a lengthy delay that interrupts the drama down the stretch.

For contenxt, this is Atlanta’s TV stations right now tracking the storm system moving through the state. Not good

Grab some lunch and lock in. We’re set for a dramatic afternoon down the stretch.

Here’s the full leaderboard at Masters.com.



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