Tiger Woods fires electrifying 65 to rocket up leaderboard at Players

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12: Tiger Woods of the United States reacts on the eighth green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods fires electrifying 65 to rocket up leaderboard at Players

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods fires electrifying 65 to rocket up leaderboard at Players

There aren’t many things more exciting in golf than when Tiger Woods gets things going.

That idea was proven once again Saturday, as Woods opened in a scorching 6-under 30 in Round 3 at the Players Championship on his way to an electrifying 7-under 65.

That round, his lowest ever at the Players Championship, rocketed Woods from a tie for 68th to a tie for eighth at 8 under and had the golf world buzzing after the 42-year-old had struggled in his last several rounds to make much hay.

Simply, it was a Saturday to remember. And it was a reminder the excitement that a scorching Tiger can bring to the golf world.

The show did not delay for a second on Saturday, as Woods buried a 15-footer for birdie at the par-4 first. He followed by chipping to 5 feet at the par-5 second and holing the putt to start birdie-birdie.

A 10-footer at the par-4 fourth meant another birdie, and he was really cooking when he coaxed in a 17-footer for his fourth birdie of the day at the par-4 fifth. When Woods drained a 10-footer for birdie at the par-4 seventh, he was 5 under for the round and 6 under overall.

With the golf world becoming frenzied, Woods launched an iron just over the green at the par-5 ninth, lagged his ensuing putt from the fringe to inches and tapped in for birdie and an opening 6-under 30. He had gone from a tie for 68th to a tie for 11th at 7 under in just nine holes.

And it was about to heat up further.

Two brilliant shots at the par-5 11th left him roughly 40 feet for eagle. He two-putted from there to move 7 under for the round and into the top 10 at 8 under overall. A terrific up and down for another birdie at the par-4 12th put Woods an astonishing 8 under through 12 on the day.

After he rolled in the 8-footer there, Woods was suddenly tied for fifth and just one shot back of second place.

He then put his tee shot 15 feet from the flag at the par-3 13th. With another potential birdie staring him in the face and everybody taking notice of his incredible day, Woods proceeded to lose a bit of his mojo.

The putt would miss to the right, leading to par. Woods then missed his drive right at the par-4 14th and had to chop out short of the green after being left with a bad lie in the rough. He pitched to about 25 feet and missed the putt for par. Two holes later, he had 8 feet for birdie at the simple par-5 16th but lipped out the opportunity.

He would close with two more pars to fire that 65.

While his finish to the round lacked some pizzazz, it was a monumental day for Woods. It also arises a day after he came within a break or two of missing the cut.

It’s always up and down in the Woods world nowadays, but there’s little negative that can be taken from this round.

Woods found 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens on the round and took 27 putts. There were no weaknesses in his game Saturday. His driver got a little loose late, but otherwise his play off the tee was pristine.

The iron play that maligned his Masters was nonexistent, as almost all of his approaches were on target and he left himself with a plethora of makeable birdie looks. And the putter that abandoned him at Quail Hollow brought almost the opposite performance Saturday, as Woods drained almost every putt he saw from the 5-20 foot range.

The 65 not only marks Woods’ best round at this event but also his lowest score in a PGA Tour round since the second day of the 2015 Wyndham Championship.

The afternoon wave remains on Saturday with a gettable course facing that crew (Jordan Spieth matched Woods’ 65 this morning to also reach 8 under). So Woods may be significantly lower than tied for eighth by day’s end.

And he’s still seven shots back with the leader Webb Simpson yet to tee off. As Simpson holds a five-shot lead, Woods could creep closer by day’s end if Simpson falters. On the other hand, Simpson continuing to flourish would mean Woods remains out of contention going into Sunday.

Whatever happens, Woods had been missing that low-round magic. Until today.

Another key milestone in Woods’ comeback is complete.

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