Woods in a familiar spot - leading in Atlanta - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Woods in a familiar spot - leading in Atlanta

Tiger Woods put together his best consecutive rounds in more than four years. The result was a share of the 54–hole lead, a place it seems he hasn't been in forever.

Playing his best golf of the year in the season–ending Tour Championship, Woods ran off four straight birdies Saturday at East Lake for a 5–under 65, leaving him tied with 50–year–old Jay Haas.

Woods has won 30 of 32 events when he has had at least a share of the lead entering the final round.

The last time he held the 54–hole lead was last year at the American Express Championship just north of Atlanta. That was 19 stroke–play tournaments ago, which also is the last time Woods won such an event.

"I'm going to give it my best," Woods said.

Haas recovered from two early bogeys and shot 68, making a 6–foot par putt on the final hole to join Woods at 9–under 201.

Woods has won 40 times in his eight–plus years on tour, including eight majors.

Haas has gone 11 years since his ninth career victory, the 1993 Texas Open. He has been atop the leaderboard going into the final round only three times since then.

"I definitely won't be the favorite tomorrow," Haas said. "But what he does shouldn't affect what I do."

U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa also made four straight birdies playing with Woods and had the outright lead until he failed to save par from two bunkers on the back nine. He shot 69 and was four shots behind, along with Canada's Mike Weir (67) and Stephen Ames (70) of Trinidad and Tobago.

Vijay Singh's bid to finish the year with 10 victories – the most since Sam Snead won 11 times in 1954 – crashed with an indifferent round of 70 that left him 11 shots out of the lead.

"You've got to be in contention to be 100 percent into it," Singh said. "I'm just not into it."

Woods got himself into the mix with his two lowest consecutive rounds (64–65) since he won the Canadian Open four years ago by closing with 64–65–64.

Woods' only bogey over the last two days was a three–putt from some 50 feet on the opening hole Saturday. But he Woods recovered with some clean shots and timely putts – a 9–iron to 10 feet on No. 8 and to 12 feet on No. 9, followed by a couple of 30–footers down the slope that trickled into the cup on their last roll.

He suddenly looked like the Woods of old, pumping his fist, pointing at the cup when the ball disappeared. Even a few breaks started falling his way, none greater than a wayward drive on the 17th that landed on the grassy slope of a bunker and stopped in a patch of short grass between two traps.

But while a victory might take some of the sting out of a frustrating year, this might be one case where Woods could be the spoiler.

Haas has been one of the more amazing stories in golf the last two years. Despite being eligible for the 50–and–over Champions Tour, he has continued to tee it up against the best with strong results. He was the second–oldest player to compete in the Ryder Cup, and he became the oldest to qualify for the Tour Championship.

All he has to do now is take down the most formidable closer in golf for his first victory in more than a decade.

"It probably takes a little pressure off me," Haas said. "If I don't win, everybody will say, 'Well, my goodness, he's up against one of the best players in the world and he's 50 years old,' and all that stuff. That's kind of disrespecting myself if I think that way.

"I can do it. I've got to think that."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future