AUGUSTA, Ga. — The 2019 Masters is shaping up for a photo finish. Tiger Woods has surged within one of the lead at the turn on Sunday, and plenty of players are in contention.
Through nine holes, it has already been an up-and-down day for Woods, who entered the day at 11 under, two shots back of leader Francesco Molinari and tied with playing partner Tony Finau.
Woods fired his opening tee shot town the fairway, leading to a two-putt par at No. 1. But he snapped his tee shot into the left woods at No. 2 and scrambled to recover for par.
At No. 3, Woods layed back off the tee with an iron, then hit a wedge with perfect weight that stopped just above the hole. He poured in the putt to get to 12 under, within one shot of leader Francesco Molinari.
But Woods gave that shot back at No. 5, where he got caught on the wrong side of the ridge and three-putted for bogey. Woods bogeyed the hole every day this week. Molinari, meanwhile, poured in clutch par putts at 1, 5 and 6 to extend his lead.
Woods missed a good look for birdie at No. 6, but didn’t give himself that option at No. 7, stuffing his approach shot to kick-in range. Molinari, meanwhile, hit his tee ball in the left trees and made bogey. The two-shot swing put Woods back within one.
At No. 8, Molinari found the bunker off the tee, but no matter: he bounced back with a tight wedge and another dead-center putt for a birdie at No. 8. Woods took a different route to the green, hitting a cut 5-wood over the back before pitching to seven feet. He answered Molinari’s birdie putt with another of his own.
At No. 9, Woods and Molinari each faced down challenging two-putts on the slippery back-to-front green. Woods nearly made his, trickling the putt just over a ridge at the green’s midway point and nearly rolling it in. Molinari miscalculated and fired his first putt some seven feet past the hole — but once again holed the par putt, dead-center.
As they turn from the back nine, scores on the Masters leaderboard are tight. Molinari and Woods are 13 and 12 under, respectively. The third member of their group, Tony Finau, is at 11 under. Brooks Koepka stands at 11 under, too. Ian Poulter and a hard-charging Patrick Cantlay are threatening from 10 under. With wind freshening and rain in the forecast, there’s no telling what could happen on the back nine at Augusta.