Tiger Woods stays in contention as Connors retains lead in Florida

by Antonio Miles March 12, 2018, 6:28
Tiger Woods stays in contention as Connors retains lead in Florida

That was good enough for a share of the early clubhouse lead before Canadian rookie Conners, the overnight leader fired a 69 for 136. "I know it's packed up there, but at least I got a shot".

Moments after walking off the course, he was told he got in as an alternate.

"Of course, I will", he said smiling.

And here he is, one shot out of the lead, and knowing that his work is not done.

Rory McIlroy will not be back for the weekend, though. "The roars are back", said Brandt Snedeker, who was along for the ride with Woods and matched his 67. The powerful tee shots.

He took the lead with a drive that was heading left, struck a cart path and caromed back into the fairway on his 14th hole, the par-5 fifth. He followed it with a "smoking" 4-iron onto the front of the green on the par 5.

He saved par at the seventh with an 11-foot putt, but his five-foot par attempt at his final hole lipped out. "He's back in action and everyone's rooting for him". But Woods missed the putt low.

Just over five months ago, Woods still didn't have the clearance to begin hitting full shots, much less playing without restrictions. That threesome collectively has 95 PGA Tour wins. I've done that from tournament to tournament, I just need to get a little bit more tournament time in and I think I've done that.

It all sets the stage for what should be a wild finish to the Valspar Championship.

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"You can't ignore it", he said.

He finished the round with a bogey, missing a five-footer. A bogey on No. 16 left him at 9-under.

"He's getting better every round". He beat Jordan Spieth by nine shots and Henrik Stenson by 10 through 36 holes - and those two guys are the last two Open champions. "I've played myself right into contention, and it should be fun Sunday".

"I don't want to get carried away from one good tournament, but you could see signs of him playing well and hitting it better, so, no, I'm not surprised". We both played well and it was just an unbelievable environment. It was the longest putt made by any golfer at the event through 39 holes. The nerve pain is gone, and it has allowed him to swing freely and aggressively.

"Feels like the old days", Casey said.

With a raucous crowd following the 14-time major victor just up ahead of him, Conners did well to keep his cool, saving par from the bunker on the 17th to keep hold of the lead. Sean O'Hair, a past victor at Innisbrook who lost in a playoff to Spieth here in 2015, had a 68 and was at 3-under 139.

However, he responded with a birdie at the next and closed out his round with four pars. He was at 2-under 140.

It's how he always used to be, and how many never expected to see him again.

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