Conners has 54-hole lead, Tiger in hunt at Valspar Championship

Saul Bowman
March 12, 2018

Up on the green, Tiger converted a birdie putt that again sent the crowd into hysterics and put him on a share of the lead with Conners.

And the 14-time Major victor surged to the top of the leaderboard for the first time since August 2015 before ending the second round in a tie for second, two shots behind leader Corey Conners. About the time he was dropping a shot, Conners was across the lake at No. 12 and rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt to stretch his lead to two shots over Rose, three shots over Woods.

Rookie Corey Conners, who has led after every round this week, could practically count the number of people following his group playing behind Woods on one hand.

"I've played myself right into contention, so it should be a fun Sunday", said Woods, who is chasing an 80th US PGA Tour title.

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. Sam Burns, the 21-year-old who beat Woods at The Honda Classic, and Patrick Reed are in fifth place, just three shots off the lead.

Since then, Woods has played 16 rounds of competitive golf, including four in the Bahamas at the unofficial World Golf Challenge.

"I was trying to stick to my game plan, play my game, and it will be another fun day out there [Sunday]", Conners said.

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

In the final round, Woods will once again be paired with Snedeker, his playing partner on Saturday and a familiar face over the last few weeks. I putted really, really well on the back nine. "I've been in this position many times". The signs of distress were often there, no more so than the hobbling gait last February in Dubai, where he shot a birdie-less 77 and withdrew the next day. But even if he only gets partway there, say half, he'd be a 7-major-winning-caliber player.

Rose holed his approach to the 11th for an eagle and also found four birdies, his solitary bogey coming on the seventh.

Woods hit a good iron off the tee at No. 12 to the middle of the fairway and the fans at the Hooters Owls Nest, which surrounds the green, were so loud he had to pause for a moment before he hit his second shot to let the applause die down.

"I said to my caddie, 'Have you ever seen those crowds?' Eight-deep back there".

It seemed he did a pretty good job of it on Friday, leading by himself for a time and making many wonder how it is even possible. "I was kind of getting a little frustrated, seeing the scores were decent".

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