Tiger Woods Within A Stroke Of Lead At Valspar Championship


Conners has played in just 16 previous PGA Tour events, and never finished better than T-21 at the end of any round until this week.

"There's a packed leader board", said Woods, who is tied with Snedeker and Justin Rose at eight under, with Patrick Reed and Sam Burns tied for fifth two strokes back. How do people even see the ball until it hits on the green? "I did a lot of guessing - guessed pretty good, also got fooled a few times". "It's going to be fun". "They've been fired up, and it's exciting for all of us". Woods rewarded the support on Friday with a round that started in 50-degree temperatures on the 10th hole and featured birdies on his third and fourth holes of the day.

This is Tiger's 70th time he'll go into the final round within at least one stroke of the lead. Still, it has been a long time since Woods has experienced this kind of rush. "It's a fun position to be in, kind of what I work for and everybody works for out here". I've been here before. I've been here before, I just need to execute.

Conners added birdies at Nos. He'll be paired with Woods again on Sunday in the second-to-last twosome.

"We've been hearing it all week", Rose said. Obviously it's not. I really remember that and all those good feelings. "Do it again tomorrow, probably be crazier tomorrow".

Rose became something of a lockdown closer over the fall while climbing up the world rankings with a number of wins and top finishes on the European Tour. He now has played with Woods four times this year (Farmers Insurance and Honda Classic twice). He didn't fare much better on Friday with two birdies, two bogeys, a 71 and a phone call to get back to Dallas sooner than he wanted.

With a raucous crowd following the 14-time major victor just up ahead of him, Conners did well to keep his cool, saving par from the bunker on the 17th to keep hold of the lead.

Tiger did what Tiger does and drained it and then delivered a fist pump because... YES!

"Of course, I will", he said smiling. I'll.be. the group behind him.

"I was playing well all day".

One of the most impressive aspects of Woods' return has been his short game.

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Graeme McDowell is the best-placed of the Irish on even par after a three-under 68 that featured four birdies. He has done so for the tournament 14 of 20 times.

"I'm up there", Woods said. "I'm due to hole one, and I finally holed one. All in all, things are moving nicely going into tomorrow".

Another birdie followed at the par-5 fifth after Woods almost chipped in for eagle. He had a slick downhill 10-footer at the 12th that lipped out.

By rule, Cousins' bag was considered an obstruction, which allowed him to take a free drop.

His momentum slowed on the 13th with a bogey, but gained it back at the next before finishing with four straight pars for a 67. "He's back in action and everyone's rooting for him". You can't get ahead of yourself.

"It feels good to be up here", Woods, who has not won since 2013, told reporters.

The 26-year-old Conners was only an alternate for the tournament at the start of the week. He's now led all three days here, shooting scores of 67-69-68. You could hear some roars [from Woods' group].

For Conners, Sunday would be a life-changer. There's so many guys played their way back up into this tournament.

Still, Woods is trying to temper expectations, as he has all year.

"It's something that I just find really cool", Conners said with a smile.