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. He shot 3-under 68 on Saturday and at 9-under 204 was one shot ahead of veterans Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose and a guy named Tiger Woods. Then after a superb approach from the rough to 20 feet at the par-4 third, Woods drained the birdie putt to get his round rolling.
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 don't see it going backward from here", said Snedeker, who played a round with Woods at Torrey Pines and twice at the Honda Classic.
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Impressively, Woods displayed an assortment of shots off the tee on Saturday.
"I feel very excited going into tomorrow and I feel very good", said Woods.
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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. "Funny, in golf it feels like a long time ago I last won". I played well, Sneds played well.
He's looking for his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his 80th overall. It's fun seeing him out there today, and I'm sure he'll be battling hard tomorrow.
The crowd around nine went nuts, Tiger calmly pumped his fist and moved onto 10 with a share of the lead.
"I was freezing out there", he said. "I was laughing. It's just him to a tee".
"You can't ignore it", he said.
Most of the fans in the bleachers had their backs turned to watch Woods.
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Birdies at the ninth and 10th followed but he stalled briefly after a bogey four at the par-three 13th.
"We were semi-joking back at the house that I hit so many good chips that haven't gone in yet, " Woods said. Then he made his major mistake of the day, hitting over the green at the 13th, leaving him with a almost impossible chip that he left in a bunker.
Tiger Woods shows flashes of old skill to take at the Valspar Championships. However, when Kyle Stanley withdrew, Conners got a spot.
Conners, who had qualified for the £4.6m event on Monday, continues to defy the expects having now lead for all three rounds and adding a three-under par 68 to his opening scores of 67 and 69 to move to nine-under par on the Copperhead course at the Innisbrook Resort near Tampa on Florida's west coast. You could hear some roars [from Woods' group].
It all sets the stage for what should be a wild finish to the Valspar Championship.
Thinking of that image of Woods and to now see him near the lead of a golf tournament just 13 months later is remarkable. It's a situation that's caused many players in the past to succumb to the pressure. "Or am I going to be like this?"
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