Woods in pole position to end 5-year drought

(Atlanta, GA:) Tiger Woods is just one round away from sensationally ending a more than five-year victory drought after storming his way to a three-shot lead with a round of 65 for a 12-under par total on day three of the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Woods, 42, began the day tied with World No. 1 Justin Rose but soon looked in a class of his own racing early to a three-stroke advantage after just three holes and then extending that to be four ahead through five holes and then a remarkable five shots clear after just seven holes on the East Lake course.

The 14-time Major winner dropped a shot at the ninth but got back to 13-under with a birdie at the 12th hole.

Woods then delivered the loudest crowd roar of his round after firstly finding a greenside bunker at the par-3 15th and then saving par from five-feet.

He dropped a shot on 16, a day after taking a double at the same hole, and then found a greenside bunker at the last to leave the victory door open a little after only managing a par.

“I got off to a nice start and made some nice putts. Good Lord,” he said.

“I left myself in good spots, too, so I was able to take a run at some of the putts. Other than No. 3, every putt was uphill, so it was nice. I felt like I could free-wheel it, and they went in.”

A Woods victory would take his PGA total to 80 and within two wins of Sam ‘Slammin’ Snead’s all-time 82 Tour victories.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: PGA Tour)

“I would love to be able to win this event,” he said.

“I’ve got a three-shot lead. I’ve got a bunch of guys behind me that have been playing well and are playing well, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Woods last victory was 1,875 days ago (SAT) in August 2013 after capturing an eighth WGC – Bridgestone Invitational.

The 14-time Major winner also is a two-time former Tour Championship winner and enjoys a remarkable record of winning 54 of 57 PGA Tour events when sharing the 54-hole lead.

“Well, it’s — simple math says that if I play a clean card, the guys behind me have to shoot 67 to force it into extra,” Woods added.

“So, that helps. I don’t have to shoot 63 or 64 and hope I get help. That’s a big difference.”

“This is a spot I’d much rather be in than certainly four or five back.”

And having won 106 tournaments around the globe, Woods was quizzed if there was any further room for a 107th victory prize.

“I am sure there would be room somewhere in the house if I happened to go on and win this event,” he said smiling.

“I have a lot of trophies, yeah. It’s scattered around through my house, my mom’s, the foundation, some other places. I’ve donated a few to charities over the years.”

“But yeah, I’ve won over 100 events as a pro, so there’s quite a few trophies here and there.”

Rose (68) and Rory McIlroy (66) share second place on nine-under par and with McIlroy, who won both the FedEx Cup and the Tour Championship two years ago, to play the last round of the last event of the 2017/18 season alongside his boyhood hero.

And there is one thing McIlroy has promised not to do on the final day as he seeks a second success this year.

“I think I’ll wear red tomorrow as I’ve regretted wearing black out there today. It was just so hot,” he said.