MIAMI - Tiger Woods is getting the hang of moving day again, shooting the day's low round for the second week in a row in the third round. Now he'll try his hand at finishing and perhaps registering his first win since August.
Playing his most solid round of the year, Woods carded eight birdies in a six-under-par 66 Saturday - known as "moving day" in tournament golf - and gave himself a chance to successfully defend his title in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral.
"I hit it good today. I felt like my swing is coming around, which is nice," said Woods, playing in just his fourth tournament of the year. "I just need to get healthy enough to where I can put the club in that position. When I feel good, I can put it there."
Last week at the Honda Classic at PGA National, Woods fired a third-round 65 that gave him an outside chance to win only to withdraw after 13 holes in the final round because of severe back spasms. The No. 1 player in the world was questionable for this week's event at the revamped Blue Course, and he didn't play a practice round before the competition began.
Despite the sore back and his lack of course knowledge, Woods held it together Friday in high winds, shooting a second-round 73 that left him at five-over 149 and only six behind the leaders. Saturday's effort, with the winds barely a whisper, helped Woods move into position to vie for his 80th PGA Tour title. When he holed out, the leaders were just making the turn and Woods, at one-under 215, was just one behind.
"It was nice to get back in the tournament again," said Woods, who tied for 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open, his only complete tournament on tour this year. "I held it together yesterday - a long day, a long, tough day - and that gave me a chance today. I figured, 'Hey, I'm only six back, that's definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing.' If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I'll be right there, and I did one better."
Woods opened with a birdie from seven feet and seldom looked uncomfortable with his swing or his back. He hit eight fairways, 14 greens and needed only 25 putts, including a crowd-pleasing 30-footer at the par-4 16th, his last birdie of the day. He got up and down at 18 for his lowest round in relation to par in 2014.
He said he is still receiving treatment for his back each day. It's helping, obviously. His game looks much healthier, too.
"As far as [it being the] most complete round, absolutely," Woods acknowledged. "I hit the ball a lot better than I did at Honda last Saturday. This was certainly a lot better round."
Perhaps it will lead to a much better result.