Masters 2019 Tee Times: Pairings and Predictions for Sunday

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2019

Tiger Woods is hoping to come away with his fifth green jacket Sunday.
Tiger Woods is hoping to come away with his fifth green jacket Sunday.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The final round of the Masters is often associated with dramatic finishes in the late afternoon or early evening.

The tournament has come down to playoffs on occasion, and the last strokes have been taken as darkness settled on Augusta National Golf Club.

That is not likely to be the case in Sunday's final round of the Masters. Tournament officials have altered the usual midafternoon start to early morning because of severe weather that is forecast to hit the Augusta area in the afternoon.

Thunderstorms are scheduled to hit the area at 1 p.m. ET, and they are likely to continue through the 7 p.m., per Weather.com. If the rain starts earlier or play is slower than expected, the tournament may not conclude Sunday.

As a result, the final round will tee off as early as 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and instead of twosomes playing from hole No. 1, threesomes will tee off from both the first and 10th tees.

The timing has changed dramatically for the final round, but the importance of the tournament and the spectacular play through the first three rounds mean that golf fans should be able to a see a memorable finish to the first major of the year.

Francesco Molinari (13 under par) is leading the Masters by two strokes over Tiger Woods (11-under) and Tony Finau (11-under), and that threesome is scheduled to start their round at 9:20 a.m. ET at hole No. 1.

Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter will tee off at 9:09 a.m., and that threesome will follow Matt Kuchar, Justin Harding and Xander Schauffele, who start their round at 8:58 a.m.

Louis Oosthuizen (8-under), Dustin Johnson (8-under) and Rickie Fowler (7-under) are all capable of making a run at the title even though they trail by five or six strokes. Oosthuizen, Johnson and Fowler start their round at 8:47 a.m.

Here's a link to final-round starting times for all the participants, per Masters.com.

While the tournament is still wide open with big names and major championship winners up and down the leaderboard, it's hard to look past the last group.

Molinari won the British Open last summer, and he is clearly capable of winning another major championship. He fired a six-under-par 66 in the third round, and his two-stroke lead going into the final round of the championship is small but significant.

Molinari has been the steadiest player in the Masters, and the only bogey he has on his scorecard came on the 11th hole of Thursday's opening round.

He fired a 66 in Saturday's moving-day round and was seemingly immune to the pressure that Woods was putting on him with his third-round score of 67.

"I hit the ball a little less well than yesterday," Molinari said, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "But I holed some really good putts at 4 and 5 to save par. I can only be happy about today. It will be an exciting day tomorrow."

Woods had one bogey and six birdies in the third round, and he is in an excellent position to fight for his fifth Masters title and the 15th major title of his career. He has not won a major since his victory in the 2008 U.S. Open.

"It's been a while since I've been in contention here," said Woods, per Bob Harig of ESPN.com. "But then again the last two majors counts for something. I've been in the mix with a chance to win major championships in the last two years. And so that helps."

Finau should not be overlooked after his eight-under round of 64. He had a magnificent first nine of 30, and he followed that with a 34 on the second nine.

Koepka should not be overlooked since he already has three major championships to his credit, including the 2018 U.S. Open and PGA Championship. Koepka has shown that the pressure of the big moment brings out the best in his game. He has followed his opening round of 66 with scores of 71 and 69.

Golf fans may have been expecting an afternoon of thrilling golf, but the game plan has changed. It's now an early morning start time, and the thrill will just come morning or early afternoon, weather permitting.

Predictions

Look for Molinari to hold it together in the final round because he has been so steady. Tiger will have his moments and the crowd will back him, but he won't be able to do enough to get his fifth green jacket and 15th major title.

Koepka lives for the big moments, and he will press Molinari and Woods, but he won't quite get there. Finau is tough, prepared and skilled, but he will fall a couple of strokes short.

The steady play of Louis Oosthuizen will allow him to get into the top five.

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Tiger Woods

3. Brooks Koepka

4. Tony Finau

5. Louis Oosthuizen

Related

    Live Leaderboard: Charles Schwab Challenge

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Live Leaderboard: Charles Schwab Challenge

    PGA.com
    via PGA.com

    Finau Leads, Spieth 2nd at Charles Schwab Challenge

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Finau Leads, Spieth 2nd at Charles Schwab Challenge

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Tiger Officially Commits to Memorial, US Open

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Tiger Officially Commits to Memorial, US Open

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Coming Soon: Tiger Woods, the TV Show?

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Coming Soon: Tiger Woods, the TV Show?

    John Strege
    via Golf Digest