Woods one back as Conners keeps Valspar lead

Monday, 12 Mar, 2018

"They've been fired up, and it's exciting for all of us".

Tiger Woods adds the Valspar Championship to his schedule for the first time as he preps for Masters.

He drained a putt from 22 feet for birdie at No. 10 underneath an overcast sky similar in color to his dark gray slacks and cap, contrasting Woods' bright pink Nike shirt that helped him stand out in a crowd even more than normal.

And while Knox would dearly love to capture a third Tour victory, the Scot is focussed on improving his current No. 98 World Ranking and joining Woods in next month's Masters. Still, it has been a long time since Woods has experienced this kind of rush.

Woods said in January, when he returned to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines, that the early stages of his latest comeback would all be aimed at Augusta National, where he has won four green jackets but hasn't played since 2015. This is Conners' 21st PGA Tour start. Woods finished t-23rd at the Famers Insurance Open, missed the cut at the Genesis Open and showed promising signs in taking 12th at the Honda Classic two weeks ago.

"Other than that, it's been a pretty clean three days as I feel really good over everything". "I think two or three times on the golf course our paths crossed, there's a lot more fuss going on the periphery". I've been here before. I've been here before, I just need to execute.

"There's a lot of guys up there, myself included". It was one of six birdies Conners made Saturday.

It was heady stuff to see Tiger Woods's name atop the leaderboard less than a month before the first major of the year the US Masters. Mike Carlson  AP
Tiger Woods finishes his round with share of Valspar lead

"It was great", Snedeker said of his round on Saturday after firing a 67 in front of Woods. I kind of knew what was going on without even having to see it. He didn't fare much better on Friday with two birdies, two bogeys, a 71 and a phone call to get back to Dallas sooner than he wanted. I just got way off on my iron play, with putting not improving either. "Do it again tomorrow, probably be crazier tomorrow". The bonus for the almost 30,000 fans who jammed the Copperhead course is that Woods is playing his best golf in years.

The 14-time major champion has been playing himself back into shape following four back surgeries. Woods had scored better in every round until Saturday.

"It's something that I just find really cool", Conners said with a smile.

For the third straight day, Conners led the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook.

They are chasing Conners, who carded a 68 for 204 to maintain the lead he has held since the first round. With a 7:56 a.m. tee time, Woods was up several hours ahead of it, going through his regimen for getting ready to play a tournament round. Then he holed a chip shot from over the ninth green for a birdie that brought him into a tie and electrified the crowd.

"If I didn't get in the tournament I planned on spending a few days with my grandparents (in Englewood)", Conners said. "I was laughing. It's just him to a tee".