Although not completely out of contention in equal 10th place on seven-under 203, it was hardly the position Woods expected when he made the turn with a spring in his step after sinking a 25-foot birdie at the ninth hole. He rolled in plenty of long putts, but struggled inside 10 feet. "What Francesco is doing back there is just awesome".
Bronson Burgoon (who shot a 67) and second-round co-leader Beau Hossler (68) finished tied for sixth at 10 under, while Ryan Palmer (67), second-round co-leader Brian Gay (68), Chesson Hadley (68) and Andrew Landry (71) ended up tied for eighth another stroke in arrears.
There were flashes of brilliance this week, enough to make it seem like the Tiger Woods of old was destined to make one last appearance in the spotlight.
Teryn Schaefer presents the best social media posts from around the world of golf in "Good, Bad & Unusual" and after each day's play brings you the biggest talking points in "The Takeaway". "The start of the back nine was incredible".
However, Molinari finished his round with pars on the final four holes.
"Basically, just trying to get efficient hitting the golf ball and then getting comfortable hitting the ball down", Woods said.
"It was not easy to skip the French Open", Molinari said.
Two-times European Ryder Cup member Molinari has been in recent sizzling form in Europe, beating Rory McIlroy to win the BMW PGA Championship outside London last month, so is not likely to be intimidated by Ancer on Sunday. He won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in 2010, before the PGA Tour recognized it as an official victory. "If I can do like I've done most of my career, putts go in". "And then that's where I messed up at 13, 14, two sloppy holes there back to back, and it cost me a little bit of momentum coming in".
"I stuffed it at 10, and I stuffed it at 11".
His trouble stemmed from a variety of issues: a poor drive here, a poor approach there, the inability to make a putt when necessary.
Molinari began the back nine by rolling in a 48-foot eagle putt, then began his birdie run. The Quicken Loans National was on its last leg with one of the weakest fields it has ever had, in the most oppressive heat that the Italian has ever played. For the third straight day, he hit 13 of 18 greens.
"I missed some putts this week, but that's okay as long as I'm starting the ball on my lines again and I have the speed", he said.
"It was nice to make a couple of birdies coming in, granted missed a little kick-in on 14", he said after another solid display since undergoing spinal fusion surgery past year.