Friday 25 May 2018

Tiger Woods looks back to his best as he moves to one shot off the lead at Valspar Championship

Tiger Woods pumps his fist after making a birdie putt on the 10th during the third round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament at Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead Course. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Tiger Woods pumps his fist after making a birdie putt on the 10th during the third round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament at Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead Course. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Tiger Woods will go into the final round of the Valspar Championship in contention for his first tournament win since 2013.

The former world number one is one shot off the lead held by Canadian Corey Conners after shooting a four-under-par 67 at Innisbrook to move to eight under.

It might have been even better for Woods, playing in just his fourth PGA Tour event since undergoing spinal fusion surgery - his fourth back operation in three years - last April.

He was top of the leaderboard after picking up four shots in his first 10 holes, including a holed chip from off the green on the ninth. He then missed chances to add more birdies on 11 and 12 but recovered a dropped shot on the 13th with his fifth birdie of the round on 14.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Woods said: "I had a good time. The environment was incredible. I played well and I think the people really got entertained today. I've played myself right there in contention."

Woods sits in a tie for second alongside England's Justin Rose and Brandt Snedeker of the US, but it is Conners who continues to lead the way after a 68.

The 26-year-old, who was an alternate at the start of the week, began the round with a two-shot lead and quickly extended that by picking up three shots in his first four holes.

Dropped shots at the sixth and seventh stalled his momentum but he birdied nine, 11 and 12 before bogeying 16.

On a day of low scoring, Rose posted one of the best rounds with a five-under 66 to move to eight under. The world number five only dropped one shot while the highlight of his round was a holed approach to the 11th that brought him an eagle.

Snedeker joined Woods in posting a 67, with the trio two shots ahead of 21-year-old Sam Burns, who is having the week of his life. He is tied on six under with Patrick Reed while Kelly Kraft, one of four players on five under, had the most dramatic back nine.

After going birdie-eagle at 10 and 11 to move to seven under and within sight of the lead, Kraft paid for a wayward drive by taking a seven on the par-four 16th before birdieing the 17th.

There was disappointment for England's Paul Casey, who also got to seven under after three birdies on the front nine but a bogey at the 12th and a double bogey at the 16th dropped him back to four under and a tie for 11th.

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