With a piece of a 36-hole lead for the first time in more than three years, golf fans began Saturday wondering if this would finally be the week that Tiger Woods wins again. But by the time Tiger made the turn, the question on many peoples’ minds changed to How much Woods will win by?
Woods began his third round at the Tour Championship with a birdie blitz that was impressive by even peak Tiger standards, carding six 3s on his first seven holes. And the lone 4 was still good enough for another birdie on the par-5 sixth. He cooled off with a par and a bogey on the difficult 8-9 stretch at East Lake, but still shot 30 on the front nine to grab a four-shot lead over playing partner Justin Rose.
After using three different putters in his three previous tournaments, Woods seems to have found the right one. Not surprisingly, it’s the club he wielded to win 13 of his 14 majors. Woods opened the week with a three-putt, but since then he has been rolling it beautifully—especially on Saturday’s front nine.
Woods began with a 22-footer for birdie. He two-putted for par on No. 2, then converted birdie looks from 8, 21, 7, 6 and 5 feet on the following five holes to move to 13 under.
Woods missed his first green on No. 8, but pitched to tap-in range. He then hit his only poor shot of the day on the par-3 ninth, pulling a long iron long and left. Woods failed to get up and down when his 9 footer just slid by the hole. Until that point, his only miss with the putter had come from 45 feet.
Tiger is trying to win for the first time since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. In 17 previous starts this season, the 79-time PGA Tour winner has six top 10s, including close calls at the British Open and PGA Championship.
A two-time winner of the Tour Championship, Woods is playing in the PGA Tour season finale for the first time in five years.