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Golf-Masters-Woods to launch defence with Allenby, Molinari

Written by: Staff

AUGUSTA, Georgia, Apr 4 (Reuters) Holder Tiger Woods has been grouped with Australia's Robert Allenby and 2005 US amateur champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy for the first two rounds of the US Masters starting on Thursday.

World number one Woods, chasing a fifth green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club, will launch his title defence at 1023 local time (1423 GMT).

Molinari, an engineering student from Turin who is still an amateur, became Italy's first US amateur champion with a 4&3 win over American Dillon Dougherty at Merion Golf Club last August.

In-form Phil Mickelson, the 2004 Masters champion who romped to a 13-stroke victory at the BellSouth Classic on Sunday, has been drawn with South Africa's Ernie Els and Shingo Katayama of Japan for the first two rounds. They start at 1330 (1730) on Thursday in the penultimate group.

World number two Vijay Singh, who won the 2000 Masters, will tee off with Sweden's Henrik Stenson and American Arron Oberholser at 1012, one group in front of Woods and company.

US Open champion Michael Campbell has a 0917 start with double Masters winner Tom Watson and Irish amateur Brian McElhinney.

Reuters SBJ BS2314

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