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Tiger Woods starts strong, finishes with 69 in third round at Honda Classic

February 24, 2018

Mike Ehrmann

Much like Friday's opening nine, it didn't take a low number for Tiger Woods to get within striking distance early on moving day at the Honda Classic. The 14-time major champion's one-under 34 at PGA National was good enough to put him three shots back of the leaders.

Woods gave himself plenty of chances to make birdies, hitting five out of seven fairways in regulation and seven out of nine greens, but through seven holes he sat at even par, with no bogeys on his card. Finally, at the par-4 eighth, he converted on his first birdie of the day after knocking his 140-yard approach shot to six feet:

At the par-4 ninth, Woods hit another fairway and hit his second shot to 15 feet, but missed the birdie putt. As it stands, he's now four shots back of solo leader Rory Sabbatini, who is two under through four holes and four under for the tournament.

UPDATE: After getting up and down for par from 111 yards at the 12th, and then holing a 14-footer for birdie at the par-4, the Tiger train was operating at full speed on Saturday at the Honda Classic:

That putt got Woods to two under on his round and one under on the tournament, but for the second straight day, he ran into some trouble at the Bear Trap, making bogeys at both par-3s and a par at the 16th. The 14-time major champion was able to get one back at the par-5 18th though, giving him a third-round one-under 69:

It's his first sub-70 round in over 900 days on the PGA Tour, the last coming at the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Through 36 holes, he sits at even par, currently in a tie for 11th, seven shots back.

"I felt like, even though I shot 69 that was probably the highest score I could have shot today, I mean, I really hit it good," he told CBS. "At least I put myself there where I've got a shot going into tomorrow."

With the leaders still on the course, it's going to likely take a really low round on Sunday for Woods to challenge, but he knows better than anyone what can happen on Sunday at PGA National. In 2012, he shot a final-round 62 that earned him a T-2 finish.

"You never know what can happen the last few holes here, a lot of things can happen and have happened in the past," he said. "I need to go ahead and post a number, I'm going to be far enough ahead of the leaders, probably a good 45 minutes or so, maybe an hour. If I can go ahead and post a number early, kind of reminiscent of what I did with Rory (in 2012), you never know, wait and see what happens.'