Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Woods within striking distance of first win since 2013

Woods within striking distance of first win since 2013

The Englishman heads into the final round just a shot off leader Corey Conners, with the world No 5 aiming to follow on from victories in China, Turkey and Indonesia as he chases a fourth worldwide win in 10 starts. Justin Rose, Snedeker and Woods are all tied for second, one shot back.

On a cool, gray afternoon, on a course - the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort - that he hadn't played in 22 years, in a tournament he had never before graced, Woods shot a 4-under 67 and whipped a teeming, half-delirious, half-incredulous crowd into a frenzy.

But there have been signs all spring that Woods was building toward something: a tie for 23rd at Torrey Pines, a 12th-place finish at the Honda Classic.

He last tasted victory at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in 2013.

Conners will be paired with Justin Rose in the final round and will tee of at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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"I am excited", Woods said.

Woods chose to play at the Valspar for the first time right before the entry deadline. "I ust wanted to get another opportunity to play, and fortunately I was able to get that opportunity this week and had a good week so far".

Woods looked sharper as the gallery got louder.

Meanwhile, it's hard to believe how quickly Woods got his game back to a title-contending level.

"I am excited. I feel good", said Woods, who's made just two bogeys in the past 36 holes. "I tried to get relaxed as early as possible and fortunately got off to a good start and kind of settled me down nicely".

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Just over five months ago, Woods still didn't have the clearance to begin hitting full shots, much less playing without restrictions.

"Another round of 66 like that tomorrow will be great to take to the Arnold Palmer and then a great showing at Bay Hill could get me into the Match-Play and hopefully then onto Augusta", said Knox.

"Once I played with him at Torrey and saw up close that he was playing, this doesn't surprise me at all, " Snedeker said. "He's back in action and everyone's rooting for him". He said his doctors had not given him clearance to hit balls. "I kind of knew what to expect out there with a lot of people and lot of people watching, but I felt comfortable". "At least I'm there with a chance going into the weekend".

While at Kent State, Conners listed Woods as one of the golfers he'd most like to play with in a foursome.

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