Tiger Woods Takes a Share of the Lead at the Valspar Championship

Casey Dawson
March 12, 2018

Woods, 42, has won 79 times on the PGA Tour.

"Just go and take advantage of a good break", Conners said.

Woods is now three shots behind leader Corey Conners, a 26-year-old Canadian who's so far more than kept his cool despite the intense pressure of knowing that Tiger Woods is at his heels. "I've played myself right there in contention". "It's going to be fun".

"I know it's packed up there but at least I got a shot", said Woods. 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. Got to go out there and really play well again.

Snedeker is vying for a Masters bid.

While a victory for Woods could have huge impact on the game worldwide, a win by Conners would be a life changer for him as an individual.

"Today was a good day", Woods said. But I have to execute.

Snedeker joined Woods in posting a 67, with the trio two shots ahead of 21-year-old Sam Burns, who is having the week of his life. "Got off to a good start", he said. I hit some good shots. "Do it again tomorrow, probably be crazier tomorrow". Conners, ranked 608th in the Official World Golf Ranking, is in search of his first professional victory. He's made 10 previous starts on the PGA Tour this season and finished no better than 29th.

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"That ignited it for me", said the 2013 U.S. Open champion.

Conners, who was paired with Paul Casey in the third round, might as well have been playing in a quiet Saturday afternoon two-ball with a buddy there were so few people following them.

Woods pulled his tee shot left, but followed up by hitting a second shot that landed on the green and skipped just off the back leaving him a fairly hard but makable chip for birdie. The crowd roared their approval and Tiger gave them a fist pump and a tip of the cap. "I'm really looking forward to it". "I was laughing. It's just him to a tee. It will be a fun Sunday". "Just kind of vintage Tiger".

Most of the fans in the bleachers had their backs turned to watch Woods.

Graeme McDowell is the best-placed of the Irish on even par after a three-under 68 that featured four birdies. The second round at Innisbrook was all about control of his shots that rarely put him out of position off the tee and especially on the green, where he could attack putts from below the hole. "I'm due to hole one, and I finally holed one. Or am I going to be like this?"

At the par-4 18th, Woods had a 24-footer for birdie but ran it by. A bogey on No. 16 left him at 9-under. He blasted out and made the putt for his only bogey. After getting a drop, his chip came out too strong and hit the flag, leaving it only 6 feet away. However, when Kyle Stanley withdrew, Conners got a spot. That left him with a three-under 67, for four under over all, and a share of the lead.

Imagine if you will the constant and intense scrutiny Woods is under every time he steps onto a golf course. And Conners will do so again Sunday alongside Rose (2 p.m. ET). And in reality, golf is a much better sport when Woods is doing his thing.

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