Those errors left him too far back to prevent Woods claiming a remarkable fifth Masters victory and a 15th major championship, with Molinari limping home in 74 to finish two shots off the pace on 11 under par.
The stormy weather will provide an ominous backdrop for Woods, Molinari and Finau in a hugely anticipated showdown that has even attracted the attention of United States president Donald Trump.
Just off the 18 green, Woods hugged his mother as he had his late father Earl in 1997 and held his children, his back more than up to the task as the crowd chanted his name, a rare tribute, and rivals congratulated him as he entered the clubhouse.
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"I'm a little hoarse from yelling", a tearful Woods said before the green jacket presentation in the Butler Cabin.
"It's overwhelming because what has transpired".
His dream of surpassing Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major victories appeared over but Sunday threw up one of sport's greatest stories ever told and gives him a glimmer of hope of becoming golf's most decorated player in history.
The victory also marked the first time Woods had reached the winner's circle at major without leading after 54 holes. But on Sunday it was Molinari who slipped up, with the 36-year-old from Turin finding the water at the 12th and 15th.
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Molinari had played near flawless golf through the first three rounds, carding a single bogey, but on Sunday a bogey along with the two doubles during a miserable final round of two-over 74 left him two back of the victor.
He stiffed his tee-shot at the par-3 16th to tap-in range for a birdie, before a regulation par on 17 allowed Woods to bogey the 72nd - and he used all five strokes on that hole.
Woods will move to No.6 in the world rankings - less than two years after he was ranked 1,199 and contemplated retiring from golf due to ongoing back injuries.
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