Golf roundup: Rookie leads with Tiger right behind

Golf roundup: Rookie leads with Tiger right behind

Woods, who charged into contention with a 3-under-par 68, hit his second shot at the par-4 ninth hole - his final hole of the day - to the right of the green.

Woods will partner Snedeker, who shot five birdies of his own in his 67.

In just his fourth official start since spinal fusion surgery last April, the 14-times major champion carded an assured four-under-par 67 in front of a huge gallery in the third round at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

After finishing equal 12th at the Honda Classic two weeks ago, the 42-year-old looks destined to compete for more titles as long as his body holds up. He is vying for his first victory since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the 80th of his career.

He will be paired in the final group with Rose, who holed a wedge for eagle from 120 yards on the par-5 11th and followed with two more birdies for a 66. "I think it's exciting to have him back for the casual golf fan, but now the true Tiger fans get excited".

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He will play with Woods again in the final round.

"I just need to get a little bit more tournament time in".

The 79-time TOUR victor will play in front of Conners for the second consecutive day.

The very sight of Woods - neon pink shirt, gray trousers and cap, white shoes - was rare enough anymore to have been considered gawk-worthy on its own, his every move chronicled by hundreds of smartphone cameras.

Asked if he missed this feeling during his latest absence from the game, Woods said, "No".

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"We've got a long way to go", Woods said.

"I have a shot to win (Sunday)", Woods said after a round of five birdies and one bogey. "Wasn't really too anxious about what was going on around me". "It's fun to hear the crowd going insane again and realize how excited we are in having him back out here and play the way he is".

These will be invaluable reps for Woods, who gets more comfortable with what his fused back will allow him to do every single round. "I felt good about my round and tried to keep that going".

"That was sweet", Woods said.

So he at least knows what to expect. "My disc was still intact so we're trying to save the disc and I just never know with the future". He said his doctors had not given him clearance to hit balls.

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Woods said on Saturday, however, that he had not been prepared to risk it until he basically had no other choice if he wanted to have a chance of living pain-free and playing competitive golf again.

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