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Conners leads, Woods lurks at Valspar

12 March 2018

Woods got the crowd roaring as he chipped in for birdie from the back of the ninth green to tie for the lead, and holed out from 20-feet at the next for another birdie. His last victory came at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

"Nine was good", Woods said. He marked it and called over an official to confirm there is no longer a penalty for a ball moving even after a player has addressed if it was clear he didn't cause the ball to move.

Tiger played one truly awful shot Saturday-his errant effort off the tee on the par-three 13th, which led to his only bogey of the day.

Tiger Woods finishes his round with share of Valspar lead

"You can't ignore it, I guess", said the former Kent State All-American of the looming presence of Woods and the chaos that goes with it.

"I felt pretty relaxed out there", Conners said. "It's fun to hear the crowd going insane again and realize how excited we are in having him back out here and play the way he is. I think it's exciting to have him back for the casual golf fan, but now the true Tiger fans get excited".

Woods showed no sign of allowing his momentum to slip heading into his third round over the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, picking up a birdie three on the third hole and then another at the par-five fifth. He now has played with Woods four times this year (Farmers Insurance and Honda Classic twice).

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Spieth missed the cut for the second time this year. 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. "I'm able to play more feel golf".

So he at least knows what to expect. And to have seen him under these circumstances, near the weekend lead, with major season approaching, was something approaching transcendent - even for those who saw it from up close.

Woods, though, surged back, with a birdie at No. 14, before finishing with four straight pars. I'm starting to get a better feel for it. After getting a drop, his chip came out too strong and hit the flag, leaving it only 6 feet away. You could hear some roars [from Woods' group].

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In a tweet following the third round, Golf Channel's senior researcher, Justin Ray, provided a reminder of Woods' outstanding record when in contention on Sunday.

Woods is tied in second place at eight-under with England's Justin Rose (66) and American Brandt Snedeker (67) and with Woods to be again paired with Snedeker over the final day as he was in today's third round.

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Conners leads, Woods lurks at Valspar