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In-form Woods one off the pace at Valspar Championship

It was vintage Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship as the 14-time major champion made his move on round two.

10 Mar 2018, 05:00 IST
tigerwoods - Cropped
Tiger Woods in action

Tiger Woods will start the third round of the Valspar Championship two strokes off the lead after surging into contention with a three-under 68 on Friday.

The legendary Woods, who started at the 10th hole at Innisbrook Resort's treacherous Copperhead course, battled against tricky conditions to record three birdies and just a solitary bogey at his last hole to leave himself four under for the tournament – two back of surprise leader Corey Conners.

It was a round that will inspire Woods' ardent fans that the good times can once again return, and all eyes will be on the 14-time major champion on Saturday to see if he can close on a first PGA Tour win since 2013.

Woods will have plenty of decent company in a congested leaderboard, with Paul Casey, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Palmer and Kelly Kraft all on four under through two rounds.

Some fine iron play at the 12th and 13th holes left two birdie putts from six to eight feet that Woods drained to get his round moving.

A scrambling par at the 18th, his ninth, maintained the momentum and the hordes of spectators roared their approval when Woods birdied one of the toughest holes on the course, the par-four, 435-yard second.

That left him in a share of the lead and he was in front alone with another gain at the fifth, but he was unable to save par with a five-foot putt in an ugly last hole that saw him hit a spectator's handbag with an approach shot and clunk a chip that fortuitously slowed after hitting the pin.

Later in the day, unlikely overnight leader Conners – who is only playing this weekend due to a late withdrawal – had made a flying start with three birdies through his opening seven holes to move to seven under for the tournament.

But a costly double-bogey at the par-three fourth once again cut his lead, but a birdie at his penultimate hole ensured a small cushion heading into the weekend.

Elsewhere, Palmer surged into contention as six birdies and one bogey saw him sign for a round of 66, while Snedeker and Casey each scored 68 to join Woods at four under.

There was bad news for Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, though.

Spieth, playing in Woods' group, failed to recover from a disappointing opening five-over 76 and a score of level par saw him miss the cut.

McIlroy was the same score for the tournament after hitting a two-over 73 on Friday, with Henrik Stenson – completing the Woods-Spieth group – a stroke further back and also heading home.

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