Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Francesco Molinari Outplays Tiger Woods

Francesco Molinari Outplays Tiger Woods

His five-under 66 was his lowest British Open round since he romped to victory at Hoylake in 2006 and left him only four shots behind Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner.

Tiger Woods of the United States prepares to tee off the 14th tee during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Saturday July 21, 2018.

His playing partner, Francesco Molinari keep his head down and continued to make pars on Sunday. "To go the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable".

The 35-year-old was paired with fellow Nike athlete Woods, and broke out of a five-way tie for the lead on the 14th hole, tapping in for a birdie.

Schauffele had to hole out a wedge on the final hole to force a playoff, and the ball checked up well short.

Although the win will be of enormous importance to Francesco Molinari, there is added significance for the Italian.

For 20 minutes on a warm Saturday afternoon at the British Open, Tiger Woods' name was back atop a leaderboard at a major championship and Carnoustie was buzzing.

Woods' surge was accompanied by fervent support on the Scottish links, with a buzz of excitement following him around the course. "It didn't feel any different to be next to the lead and knowing what I needed to do".

Pepperell teed off at 11.40 a.m. local time with Phil Mickelson.

It certainly felt that way when the deep gallery surrounding the first green roared their approval at Woods holing a 10-foot putt for par, after he sent his approach left of the green.

After this unbelievable performance, after Tiger Woods almost won The Open, are there really any left?

Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson opened as the three co-favorites at 12-1 at Westgate. His second shot came into the green with no spin and kicked hard, racing well past the desired 14 hole and finishing closer to the 4 hole on the double-green complex, about 50 yards from the flag.

Tiger Woods is on the move in the British Open, edging to within a stroke of the lead on the front nine.

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His charge was a 2-under 69 in the strongest wind of the week, the only player from the last four groups to break par. I know that it's going to sting a little bit here, but given where I was" - untold injuries, 12 missed majors this decade, back surgery 15 months ago - "to where I'm at now? My second shot going into the third was such a bad shot.

"I played pretty similar to this at the Players Championship". Schauffele, Kisner, Spieth, Kevin Chappell and Molinari were also in the mix.

An hour in and Spieth and Schauffele were doing that but only by their fingertips.

Tommy Fleetwood also started his round at 5-under, like Woods, and birdied the first to a massive ovation. "The grass grabbed the shaft this time and turned it open and made bogey there".

"You're the man, Tiger, and everyone knows it", yelled a fan standing next to another in an orange and black tiger costume.

"It is absolutely unbelievable", Turin-born Molinari, who went bogey-free from the 17th hole of his second round, said.

"I never got angry", said Spieth, who finished T9.

This was their chance to help bring Tiger Woods home.

Jordan Spieth was tied for the lead at Carnoustie as he tries to become the first repeat victor in 10 years at the British Open. Woods, dressed in his signature Sunday red and black, held a major championship lead.

Woods was four shots behind.

Thirteen more majors followed over the next 11 years as the American looked on course to break Jack Nicklaus' tally of 18 major victories - a record that has stood since 1986.

The prospects of a remarkable 15th major title for Woods after he proved he could compete once more at the highest level.

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