Tiger Woods, who hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in five years, will go into Sunday’s final of the Tour Championship at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club with a commanding three-stroke lead.
Woods carded a 5-under par 65 in the third round Saturday after making birdies on six of the first seven holes. He is 12-under for the tournament, three shots ahead of 2016 tournament champ Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
“I felt hot early for sure. I was hitting it absolutely dead flush. The putts I was hitting were going in, and from there, I just tried to just hang in there” and tried to get one or two more birdies on the back nine, Woods said.
Woods has only lost twice in his career when leading after 54 holes, but in each of those losses his lead was two shots or fewer. He has won 42 tournaments that he led at the end of the third round, including 23 in which he had a lead of three shots or more.
“I would love to be able to win this event. 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 (Sunday),” he said.
Woods leads the event in strokes gained putting. He told reporters that in the tournaments he’s played this year he has had some hot stretches on the greens but has not been consistent. He said he’s been getting good speed on his putts this event, has been reading them well, and has been using his hands well.
The two-time winner of the year-ending PGA Tour event said he feels like he has always putted well on the par-70 course that is almost 7,400 yards.
McIlroy, who will be in the final twosome of the day with Woods on Sunday, said he only worries about himself.
“The game is hard enough without having to, without looking at other people,” he said. “Go out there, take care of my business, and hopefully that’s good enough.”
Woods last won a PGA Tour event in August 2013 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He finished second at the PGA Championship this August, losing to Brooks Koepka by two shots despite shooting a final round 64.