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Sunday, 14 April 2019
Tony Finau  (Getty Images)
Tony Finau (Getty Images)

Tony Finau is determined to use all the experience he has gained in the last 12 months when he tees off alongside childhood inspiration Tiger Woods in the final round of the Masters Tournament.

Finau arrrived at Augusta National 12 months ago to make his Masters debut but famously dislocated his ankle during the par three contest before going on to finish in a tie for tenth.

Since then, he has gone out in the final group at the U.S. Open and made his Ryder Cup debut, and on Sunday he will play with 14 time Major Champion Woods and reigning Open Champion Francesco Molinari.

The American played his way into that position with a third round 64 containing an eagle and six birdies, holding a two shot lead at one point before Molinari went past him with four consecutive gains on the back nine.

"I was well in front of the leaders," he said. "I needed to keep making birdies because I knew they were going to have a lot of opportunities, the guys that were playing well.

"I was happy to post the number I did but, more than anything, just keep my foot on the gas pedal and not let off. I'm well in contention, and I'm happy about that."

He added: "It felt great standing on the tee feeling fully healthy this year. I know it's a golf course that I like and playing healthy this year is nice.

"Last year was awkward for me, just getting through those first couple of rounds, just because of the way I felt. Mentally I think it helped because it took a lot of the pressure off but you never want to be in physical pain when you're playing at a high level.

"As well as I played last year, I didn't have a chance to really win. Last year I had the lead going into the final round of the U.S. Open and I took a run at it towards the end.

"I feel like I've learned some things about that finish that I can apply to tomorrow and hopefully do better."

I know it's a golf course that I like and playing healthy this year is nice - Tony Finau

Finau has often admitted Woods is a big reason he took up golf and the 29-year-old is thrilled to be going off alongside him on Sunday.

"The first golf tournament I ever watched was the 97 Masters," he said. "Just watching Tiger dominate the way that he did was very inspiring for me for some reason as a kid.

"Tiger is a huge, huge inspiration and influence on me and that 97 Masters meant a lot.

"As a kid, I always wanted to compete against him. I've dreamed of playing in the final group with him in a Major Championship.

"It's always a great tournament whenever Tiger is in the mix and he's 100 per cent in the mix right now so it's going to be a Masters to remember, I know that for sure."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WOODS, TigerUSA18-13
T2JOHNSON, DustinUSA18-12
T2SCHAUFFELE, XanderUSA18-12
T2KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-12
T5DAY, JasonAUS18-11
T5SIMPSON, WebbUSA18-11

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