Written by Reuters
23 Sep, 2018 | 2:22 pm
Reuters – Tiger Woods stood on the brink of his first victory for more than five years after opening a three-shot lead over Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy in the third round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Saturday (September 22).
Woods exuded a sense of calm as he contemplated his chances of what given his 42 years and surgical history would be perhaps his greatest triumph, at least outside of his 14 major titles. And he had every reason to fancy his chances given his history as a front-runner of the highest order.
He has enjoyed the sole lead 44 times entering the final round and has converted all but twice. And he has never coughed up a lead of three shots or more. A victory on Sunday would be his 80th on tour — two short of Sam Snead’s record — and his first since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013.
Woods has not been the closer of old in his return this year from a spinal fusion, most notably at the British Open at Carnoustie where he charged into the lead halfway through the final round before faltering.
Woods led by five strokes late on but showed a hint of fragility by fluffing a pitch shot at the par-four 16th, where he failed to carry his ball up the slope. But with a double-bogey looming, he regrouped to hit his next delicate shot stone dead for a tap-in bogey, before Rose sank an eight-foot birdie to cut the gap to three.
McIlroy, meanwhile, birdied the 16th and 18th holes to join the fray, setting up the prospect of a Sunday to remember.
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