Friday, 25 May, 2018

Tiger Woods closes in on first win since 2013 at Valspar Championship

Watch: Tiger Woods Takes a Share of the Lead at the Valspar Championship After years in the rough, Tiger Woods gets his game back
Judith Alexander | 12 March, 2018, 09:22

Tiger Woods is feeling it right now and that couldn't have been more evident with this chip in the par-4 ninth hole during his third round at the Valspar Championship.

It's been 54 months since Woods' last victory at the 2013 WGC - Bridgestone Invitational and the now 42-year old is set to dispel any criticism, and not that he has not already done in 13 rounds this new season, with what would be a 80th PGA Tour success.

"Nine was good", Woods said. After a discussion with an official to confirm there was no penalty he holed out for a par.

Golf's dominant figure for much of the past two decades, Woods was the centre of attention once again at Palm Harbor on Saturday, with huge crowds gathering to see if the former world number one could continue a hugely encouraging week.

"The environment was incredible", Woods said of the boisterous gallery that followed him. "In golf it feels like a long time ago I last won".

"We knew when he hit it, and then of course I didn't see it", said Cousins told the Times. "I'm really looking forward to it". "I've been ready to go".

"I am excited", he said.

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Woods' third round scorecard shows five birdies and just the one bogey, and starting his round with a wayward drive left into the tree line but managing to scramble his way to par ahead of bringing a record crowd to their feet in holing a 20-footer for birdie at the par-4 third hole. But this was the first time he has holed a shot from off the green this year.

"It's fun seeing [Tiger Woods] out there today and I'm sure he'll be battling hard tomorrow, but hopefully I can play my game and have a good day". I figure it will be similar tomorrow.

Woods would falter with a final-round 70, finishing four strokes behind victor Davis Love 3rd, and less than a month later would have the first of two back operations that would keep him away from competitive golf, with a couple of exceptions, until January of this year. You could hear some roars [from Woods' group].

Woods played alongside Snedeker Saturday, and the friends will be right back in the same pairing Sunday.

These will be invaluable reps for Woods, who gets more comfortable with what his fused back will allow him to do every single round.

Woods said on Saturday, however, that he had not been prepared to risk it until he basically had no other choice if he wanted to have a chance of living pain-free and playing competitive golf again.

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