Woods 2 strokes be­hind Gore af­ter 3rd round at Wyn­d­ham

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JOEDY MCCREARY

Tiger Woods couldn’t have asked for much more at his first Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship. He’s play­ing with con­fi­dence. His scores show it. And now he’ll play a Sun­day round that mat­ters.

Woods shot a 2-un­der 68 in the third round Satur­day, leav­ing him two strokes be­hind leader and long­time friend Jason Gore in a three-way tie for sec­ond.

Gore had a ca­reer-best 62 to reach 15-un­der 195 at Sedge­field Coun­try Club.

“I need to go out there to­mor­row and make a run and get my­self up there and make some birdies,” Woods said. “There’s a bunch of guys ... at 13 (un­der). There’s a whole slew of guys at 12, 11, 10. Any­body can make a run and shoot the score Jason and Jonas (Blixt) did.”

Woods — whose streak of 28 holes with­out a bo­gey ended on the 18th when his 6-foot par putt lipped out — reeled off 10 straight pars be­fore briefly mov­ing within one stroke of Gore with a birdie on the par-3 16th.

“I felt very steady from the word ‘go,’” Woods said.

Blixt and Scott Brown joined Woods at 13 un­der. Blixt shot a ca­reer-best 62, and Brown had a 66.

For­mer Wyn­d­ham win­ners Webb Simp­son (64) and Brandt Snedeker (67) were three strokes back along with Paul Casey (66), Jim Her­man (66) and Cameron Percy (67).

Woods was poised to make a run at his first win in more than two years — one that would earn him enough points to clinch a spot in the FedEx Cup play­offs opener next week in New Jersey. Depend­ing on the math, a solo sec­ond-place fin­ish also might be enough for Woods, who’s at No. 187.

“I think it’s awe­some to see him play­ing well again, to see him play­ing like Tiger Woods,” Gore said, “be­cause that’s what we all want to see.”

He also moved one step closer to his 80th PGA Tour vic­tory — and first since the 2013 WGCBridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional.

Play­ing the Wyn­d­ham for the first time in an ef­fort to hone his game and earn a spot in The Bar­clays, Woods is at­tempt­ing to win a tour­na­ment in his first try for the first time since 1999 — when he won the WGC-Cadil­lac Cham­pi­onship in Spain.

For him, this day was about con­sis­tently mak­ing pars — 15 in all, in­clud­ing a re­mark­able save on the 10th with a 24-foot putt.

“The put­ter just felt re­ally good. My pace, I felt like I could be ag­gres­sive,” Woods said. “I took a few runs at putts and ripped them past the hole, but I never felt like I was go­ing to miss any of them. I took a rip at them. Some I made, some I didn’t.”

His only birdie on the back nine was an im­por­tant one. He plopped his tee shot on 16 about 12 feet from the hole and rolled in the putt to move to 14 un­der be­fore giv­ing that stroke back on his fi­nal hole.

That bo­gey pre­vented a fi­nal Sun­day pair­ing with Gore — who was in­stead paired with Blixt. Gore says he’s known Woods “since we’ve been 12 years old” as kids in Cal­i­for­nia.

Gore started the round six strokes off the lead. He took over the top spot at 14 un­der with a birdie on the 15th, then closed with another on the 18th — hit­ting his sec­ond shot to 7 to set up his ninth birdie of the day.

At No. 166 on the points list, Gore put him­self in po­si­tion for his sec­ond ca­reer win on tour and his first since the 84 Lum­ber Clas­sic in 2005. He has just 15 top-10 fin­ishes in the past decade.

AP

Tiger Woods hits from the fair­way to the 18th green dur­ing the third round of the Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment at Sedge­field Coun­try Club in Greens­boro, North Carolina, Satur­day, Aug. 22.

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