Molinari holed a couple of clutch putts in his five opening pars before picking up shots at the sixth and eighth as he cruised to the turn in 34, and he came close to a rare ace at the 12th to set up the birdie that ignited his charge to the top of the leaderboard.
Tony Finau threw his hat into the Green Jacket ring on Saturday, stealing the early third round lead at the Masters with a record-equalling outward nine to jump to the top of a leaderboard packed with major winners.
"Three [majors] in a row, I've been right in the mix", Woods added, building on his second place at last year's PGA Championships.
"It is what it is", Woods said.
Yet Woods provided the day's biggest talking point, as he surged into contention having survived a dramatic scare on the 14th hole when a security guard - running in a bid to control spectators - slipped and nearly knocked golf's biggest star off his feet. "Accidents happen and move on".
"It was just one of those weeks, just not quite had it", McIlroy said after an erratic round containing an eagle, four birdies and five bogeys.
When play resumed Woods, who later said he was a little bit stiff as he started swinging again, failed to convert the birdie as his putt curled around the left edge of the cup.
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Spieth, who has struggled for much of the past year and has no finishes better than 30th in 2019, rallied with a 68 during the second round to get to 1 under par for the tournament.
Woods had played a sublime recovery shot from the pine straw immediately prior to that incident and duly converted his resulting birdie putt before picking up another shot at the 15th to get to six under.
Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, eagled the par-5 15th to reach eight-under but a bogey at 16 dropped him back into the pack.
"It's a bunched leader board ... if someone decides to break away on the weekend I'm in a good spot to run with them". It must be the hills, because I've been playing and hitting a lot of balls recently with no ill-effects.
Woods was tied with Dustin Johnson, another major champion and world No. 1, along with Xander Schauffele and Masters newcomer Justin Harding of South Africa.
But since then he has shown more than a glimmer of his once-spellbinding form, and has placed himself firmly in contention with a commanding 68 in his second round to remain a shot behind the leaders at 6-under par.