Corey Conners continues to play the role of spoiler in Tiger Woods' efforts to get back in the win column for the first time in almost five years as he carded a three-under 68 Saturday to reach nine-under overall in the 2018 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Woods, in search of his first PGA Tour win in five years, is the favorite to take home the title heading into the last day of play. Sam Burns, the 21-year-old who beat Woods at The Honda Classic, and Patrick Reed are in fifth place, just three shots off the lead.
He's looking for his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his 80th overall. Now, he's not just leading a PGA Tour event going into Round 4, but leading a PGA Tour event with Tiger Woods one stroke back.
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. I kind of knew what was going on without even having to see it. Starting on the back nine of the testing Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, Woods recovered from a wayward drive on the 10th to make par and also parred the next before holing from five feet for birdie on the 12th.
Given it is has been over three-years since Woods has been in a position for victory, and given four well-published back operations, Woods was asked what would it mean if he were to win tomorrow. Tried to get relaxed as early as possible and fortunately got off to a good start and kind of settled me down nicely. "Today, for example, when he crossed the golf course I think two, three times on the golf course our paths crossed and I was teeing off on 10, 11, he was playing 9". Then he holed a chip shot from over the ninth green for a birdie that brought him into a tie and electrified the crowd. "I said to my caddie, 'Have you ever seen those crowds?' Eight-deep back there".
But he got up and down for par from a bunker at 17, and when his ball moved slightly on the 18th green he stayed calm, consulted a rules official and finished out with a par.
This is Tiger's 70th time he'll go into the final round within at least one stroke of the lead. It's fun seeing him out there, and I'm sure he'll be battling hard (Sunday).
"I've come a long way in that span of time", Woods said.
Spieth missed the cut for the second time this year. "I've played half of them with Sneds", Woods told NBC sports.
"It was really cool", the wide-eyed, smiling Canadian said.
"I'm able to play more "feel" golf than I am just trying to figure out how to play golf again".