Suddenly Tiger Woods is back and the fans at the Copperhead course at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor could not be happier. He crafted a sterling four under par 67 putting him at eight under alone with three others just one off the lead of Corey Conners who sat atop the leaderboard for the third straight day.
The Bay Area golf fans have been treated to the best golf that Woods has played since 2013. A packed crowd followed Woods around all day cheering him on and seeing some of those trademark fist pumps every time he hits a good shot.
Woods, 42, struggled to start the third round, missing a pair of fairways and hitting one sloppy approach, but he managed to open with two pars. Then after a superb approach from the rough to 20 feet at the par-4 third, Woods drained the birdie putt to get his round rolling.
Another birdie followed at the par-5 fifth after Woods nearly chipped in for eagle. He’d actually lost ground, moving from two behind at the start of the round to three behind as Conners birdied three of his first four holes to move to 9 under.
Woods and Conners battled each other all day. The crowd willing Woods to take the lead all day and he came close after he hit a wedge to seven feet at the par-5 11th and faced that birdie putt to move to 9 under and the solo lead. But Woods missed the putt low.
At the par-4 18th, Woods had a 24-footer for birdie but ran it by. He cleaned up the comebacker for a par and a 67. The crowd roared their approval and Tiger gave them a fist pump and a tip of the cap.
In today’s final round he will once again be paired with Brandt Snedeker in the next to last group. Conners will play his final round with Justin Rose who had an outstanding 5 under par 66 putting him at 8 under with Woods and Snedeker.
He’s looking for his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his 80th overall. This is his fourth start back in his comeback. And he has a legitimate chance to win with 18 holes to go.