AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The comeback is complete. Tiger Woods has his fifth Masters title.
The 43-year-old Woods shot a 2-under 70 for one-stroke victory Sunday and his 15th major championship. But it was his first since the 2008 U.S. Open, capping a remarkable recovery from debilitating injuries and embarrassing personal problems. Woods showed he still had the game to compete with the world’s best when he triumphed in last year’s Tour Championship, his first victory of any kind since 2013.
Now, he’s back on top with his first green jacket at Augusta National since 2005. In a final round that was played in threesomes off both tees to stay ahead of approaching thunderstorms, Woods grabbed the outright lead for the first time with a two-putt birdie at No. 15.
Utah’s Tony Finau finished in fifth after starting the day tied with Woods, two shots back of the leader, Francesco Molinari. Finau was in the final threesome of this unusual early afternoon finish at the Masters. Tee times were moved up to avoid an approaching storm.
Finau, who grew up in Salt Lake City and resides in Sandy, bogeyed the fifth and 10th holes while birdieing No. 8. After hitting the water on 12, he railed with birdies at 13, 15 and 16 to finish even on the day.
Then, with Olympic champion Michael Phelps standing behind him on the tee at the par-3 16th, Woods wrapped things up by sticking an 8-iron within 2 feet of the cup for another birdie and a two-stroke lead.
Francesco Molinari began the day with a two-shot advantage over Woods and Tony Finau. But the Italian self-destructed on the back side, dunking two balls in the water on the way to double-bogeys at the 12th and 15th holes. This is the first time Woods has ever come from behind on the final day to win a major championship, leaving him three behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles.
Tiger Woods has a two-shot lead with two holes to play and is closing in on his first Masters title since 2005.
Woods made back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to take the two-shot advantage over Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.
The leaderboard is changing so fast on the back nine of the Masters it’s hard to keep track of the leaders.
There’s a five-way tie for the lead in the final round with Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods all at 12-under.
Augusta National has stayed dry, but rain is bearing down on the course and could play a factor on the final holes.
Jason Day and Rickie Fowler are one shot back.
Four contenders hit their tee shots at No. 12 into Rae’s Creek. Xander Schauffele and Tiger Woods stayed dry and are now tied for the lead with Francesco Molinari.
Molinari, Tony Finau, Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka all hit the water on the 155-yard par-3. The wind has picked up at Augusta National over the last few hours with potential thunderstorms bearing down on the course.
All four made the same mistake, leaving their shot short and watching it roll down the hill into the water.
That left an opening for Woods, who put his tee shot on the green. He made par and is now in a three-way tie for the lead with Schauffele and Molinari.
Tiger Woods remains in contention to win his first Masters since 2005 with nine holes left to play in the final round.
The 43-year-old Woods is one shot behind leader Francesco Molinari, who is trying to win his second major title.
Woods played the front nine in 1-under while Molinari is at even par for the day.
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau are two shots back.
Augusta National has remained dry though the wind has picked up. The weather forecast calls for possible thunderstorms to roll through by mid-afternoon.
Francesco Molinari’s lead has been sliced to just one shot over Tiger Woods.
Molinari made a bogey on No. 7 and Woods had a birdie for a two-shot swing. Molinari had gone 49 straight holes without a bogey before missing the 15-foot par putt.
Molinari is now at 12-under for the tournament and Woods it at 11-under. Brooks Koepka is also within one shot of the lead at 11-under.
Steady Francesco Molinari has made par on his first five holes and now has a three-shot lead during the final round of the Masters.
Tiger Woods briefly pulled one shot behind Molinari after a birdie on No. 3, but fell back to three behind after bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5.
Tony Finau, who is playing in the final group with Molinari and Woods, also bogeyed No. 5. Finau, Woods and Brooks Koepka are all three shots back.
Patrick Cantlay and Ian Poulter are four shots back.
Bryson DeChambeau has made a hole-on-one on No. 16 in the final round at the Masters.
DeChambeau was one of the co-leaders after Thursday’s first round after shooting a 66, but fell way off the pace with a 75 and 73 over the next two days.
His shot on the 170-yard hole hit the green well to the right of the hole, but had some backspin and slowly rolled left until it fell into the cup .
It’s DeChambeau’s first hole-in-one on tour.
The tournament’s final group — Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau and Tiger Woods — teed off at 9:20 a.m. All of them made par on the first hole.
The final round of the Masters will be a race against the rain.
A powerful line of thunderstorms has swept across the South over the past few days and the rain has already made it to the outskirts of Atlanta, which is approximately 145 miles to the west of Augusta.
Conditions on Sunday morning at Augusta National weren’t bad, with overcast skies and relatively calm winds.
But the weather is forecast to deteriorate as the day progresses, with wind building and a line of storms approaching by mid-afternoon. The leaders — Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau and Tiger Woods — are scheduled to tee off at 9:20 a.m.
Molinari has a two-shot lead over Finau and Woods at 13-under 203.
Tiger Woods waking up early Sunday morning to play the final round of the Masters ordinarily would mean he is at the bottom of the leaderboard.
That wasn’t the case this year.
Francesco Molinari takes a two-shot lead over Woods and Tony Finau into a first-ever Sunday morning start — threesomes off the first and 10th tees — with hopes of finishing the Masters ahead of severe storms in the forecast.
Floodlights cast shadows on the practice range as players warmed up in darkness. Woods, trying to end 14 years without a green jacket, said he would be up by 4 a.m. to start stretching a body that has been slowed by four back surgeries.
Woods, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson were among 10 players within five of the lead.
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