Pro Golf Weekly

Molinari, Ancer Co-Lead QL National After 54 Holes

Abraham Ancer and Francesco Molinari will head into Sunday’s final round of the Quicken Loans National with a share of the lead at 13-under par.

Francesco Molinari hits a shot in round three of the 2018 Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac in Maryland. Credit: Getty Images/Sam Greenwood

Molinari, the 17th ranked player in the world, finished his third day at TPC Potomac with one bogey against six birdies, highlighted by two-straight to close on Nos. 17 and 18 to reach 65.

“Another good day, played very well. I left a couple of putts on the greens, three-putting and missing a couple of short birdie chances, but it was great to finish like that,” said Molinari, who appears to be a lock for the 2018 European Ryder Cup team.

“The game is there, so it was just a case of trying to recover energy for tomorrow because it’s going to be another very hot day and do my best tomorrow.”

The 35-year-old Italian, a recent winner of the BMW PGA Championship – the European Tour’s flagship event, will be seeking his first PGA Tour title on Sunday.

Ancer, meanwhile, carded a bogey-free 62 which included eight birdies – four per side, to jump 10 spots up the leaderboard.

Like Molinari, the 27-year old Mexican will also be seeking his first career PGA Tour win on Sunday. The rookie owns two top 10s this season – the last one coming in March at the Houston Open. Since then, though, Ancer has not smelled a top 10 (T58, MC, MC, T42, T52, T57, MC, MC).

When asked how he’ll prepare for the final round in the final pairing, Ancer said, “Just staying patient, it’s just another round. Like you said, one shot at a time. I won on the Web in 2015 and I had a super late tee time, I think it was like 3:00-something.

“I was like, what am I going to do with myself in the morning? So probably going to work out a little bit, do some stretching and just keep my mind free and just play golf.”

Zac Blair (65) and Ryan Armour (68) were two off the lead at 11-under par. Andrew Landry shot 65 and was one further back at 10 under par, one clear of Kevin Streelman (67) who’s alone in sixth at 9-under par.

Overnight co-leader Beau Hossler dropped to 8-under par after struggling to a 71 on Saturday, and dropping to T7, alongside Troy Merritt (66) and C.T. Pan (68).

Tiger Woods shot a 68 to lead a logjam at 7-under par and T10. Rickie Fowler was two further back at 5-under par following a 69.


THE TOP 10

1. Abraham Ancer -13
1. Francesco Molinari -13
3. Zac Blair -11
3. Ryan Armour -11
5. Andrew Landry -10
6. Kevin Streelman -9
7. Troy Merritt -8
7. C.T. Pan -8
7. Beau Hossler -8
10. Ryan Blaum -7
10. Bronson Burgoon -7
10. Tiger Woods -7
10. Chesson Hadley -7
10. Marc Leishman -7
10. Brian Gay -7

NOTABLES

16. Kyle Stanley -6
22. Rickie Fowler -5
25. Stewart Cink -4
34. Charles Howell III -3
34. Kiradech Aphibarnrat -3
49. Joaquin Niemann -1
60. Gary Woodland +1
65. Jimmy Walker +2


STAT LEADERS

DRIVING DISTANCE
1. Tom Lovelady – 325.3 (T45)
2. Nick Watney – 324.2 (T66)
3. Robert Garrigus – 312.5 (T45)

FAIRWAYS
1. Kevin Streelman – 35/42, 83.3% (T6)
1. Kiradech Aphibarnrat – 35/42, 83.3% (T34)
3. Stewart Cink – 33/42, 78.6% (T25)

GREENS
1. Francesco Molinari – 48/54, 88.9% (T1)
2. Andrew Landry – 43/54, 79.6% (5)
2. Kevin Streelman – 43/54, 79.6% (6)


VIDEO: THIRD-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS


VIDEO: TOP SHOT

Beau Hossler struggled to a 71 on Saturday, but he made the highlight reel with this 50-foot bomb for birdie on the par-3 9th hole.

50 FEET ? Big-time birdie by @the_beau_show_. #LiveUnderPar

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on


QUOTABLE

“I like that you just have to hit it good, there’s no way around it. You can’t really skank it and shoot under par, it’s tough. You’ve got to hit the fairway. If you don’t, you’ve got to have a really good short game. So I like golf courses that you have to hit it good, there’s no other way around it, so I love it.”
– Abraham Ancer

“It’s a great course. It’s a tough test, but it challenges every part of your game. You really need to be on the ball to play well here. I think it suits my game now that I’m playing well, I’m hitting fairways, hitting greens. I think one of the keys this week has been not making too many bogeys and be patient and just wait for the opportunities. It’s a great track, yeah.”
– Francesco Molinari

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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