Francesco Molinari is a man stuck between continents.
Molinari continued his birdie run at the 14th to briefly move nine ahead and threaten a sub-60 round, only to end his remarkable scoring run by splashing out of the rough at the next to save par. Even though he missed a few short putts on the front nine, he closed with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and hit wedge into 5 feet for birdie at the 18th.
On Sunday, he needed just 27 putts and made 125 feet worth, the most of the week. He hit a 6-iron to 2 feet for birdie on No. 11, one of the hardest par 4s on the PGA Tour which had yielded only one other birdie all day.
This is the last time the Quicken Loans National will be held in the D.C. area, where it has been since its inception in 2007. He's a two-time member of the European Ryder Cup team and is the only Italian player to win his country's national championship, achieving that feat in 2016. That was more bothersome to Ancer than the heat.
Molinari picked the PGA Tour because he was No. 123 in the FedEx Cup standings and wanted to improve his position, especially after missing the Tour Championship by what amounted to one shot a year ago.
"It was a lot easier than I thought, " Molinari said with a wide grin.
A group after Ancer closed with a nine-foot birdie putt, 14-time major victor Woods found a bunker at 18 and missed an eight-foot par putt, taking his fourth bogey to shoot 68 and share 10th on 203.
"It feels great. I played awesome", Ancer said.
Woods began his birdie barrage with seven-footers at the fourth and fifth, sank a 12-footer at six and made an eight-foot putt at seven to reach 8-under, one off the lead.
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"What's Francesco's doing in phenomenal".
Ryan Armour finished second, earning one of four spots to the British Open.
"For me the Open is a major which I prep my schedule around all year so I want to be rested for that". "I'm fired up to go over to Carnoustie and see how my game translates over there".
That's a long way from how he played the first few months of the season on Tour. After a brief rain delay on the par-4 16th hole at Kemper Lakes Golf Club, Ryu's putt for birdie rolled past, and Park finished off her South Korean compatriot with a 10-footer.
"I just drew on that", Ancer said.
He won a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010, though the PGA Tour did not recognise the HSBC Champions as an official win until a year later.
His trouble stemmed from a variety of issues: a poor drive here, a poor approach there, the inability to make a putt when necessary. But he was much closer than that at one stage. Just being in the mix late Saturday afternoon was a new experience for Ancer, who had never finished 54 holes inside the top 10.
The 35-year-old eagled the 10th hole and followed with four consecutive birdies as a magical 59 appeared in sight. He missed the putt. For the third straight day, he hit 13 of 18 greens.