TEN NOTES TO KNOW: 3rd ROUND OF THE 2019 MASTERS TOURNAMENT
1. Francesco Molinari recorded his second consecutive bogey-free round on Saturday, running his streak of holes without a bogey or worse this week to 43. That is the longest such streak within a single Masters over the last 15 years. Molinari has now played his last 163 holes in major championships in 31-under, making just six bogeys or worse during that span.
2. Molinari, the reigning Open champion, joined an incredible list by taking the 54-hole lead at The Masters on Saturday. He is the seventh reigning Open winner to lead entering the final round of the Masters – joining Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods. Four of the previous six men to do it – Woods, Watson, Ballesteros and Palmer – went on to win The Masters that Sunday.
3. In the last four majors held, there have been four different instances of a player going 37 or more consecutive holes without making a bogey or worse. Molinari owns two of them – the streak he is currently on at The Masters, and the run of 37 holes to finish his Open victory last summer.
4. Tiger Woods will enter the final round just two shots behind Molinari, trying to win a major championship for the first time when trailing after 54 holes. Woods is 3rd in the field this week in strokes gained approach, trailing only Ian Poulter and Matt Kuchar. Tiger did not miss a putt on Saturday inside ten feet.
5. Woods is trying to win his first Masters in 14 years. The record for most years between Masters victories is 13 by Gary Player (1961-1974). This would be Tiger’s first major championship victory in eleven years – the last player to go eleven years between major wins was Ben Crenshaw at the 1995 Masters (Crenshaw’s previous major win was at Augusta in 1984).
6. This is the fifth time Tiger Woods has been 11-under or better through 54 holes of The Masters. In his other four instances, he won each time.
7. There were three rounds of 64 on Saturday, the first time there has ever been multiple rounds of 64 or lower shot in a single Masters round. In fact, from 1934 through 2018, of the 4,242 third round scores registered at The Masters, only two were 64 or lower – there were three on Saturday alone!
8. Saturday the field shot an average score of 70.82, the second-lowest number in any round in Masters history. The only day lower? The previous weekend round played at Augusta National – the final round last year, which clocked in at 70.49.
9. Brooks Koepka enters the final round three shots off the lead on the strength of his ball-striking. Koepka has gained 11.75 strokes on the field this week tee-to-green, a full two strokes more than any other player in the field. However, he’s 57th in strokes gained putting among the 65 players to make the cut. With a win Sunday, Koepka would become the fourth American to win four or more professional majors before age 29, joining Bobby Jones, Nicklaus and Woods.
10. Will Sunday’s expected high winds give the chasers a chance? Only six percent of Masters winners all-time have been outside the top-five entering the final round. 23 of the last 30 champions have been in the final grouping on Sunday, and nobody has come from more than 4 back entering the final round to win in 23 years.