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Tiger Woods Holds Share of 36-Hole Lead for First Time in 3 Years

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Tiger Woods has achieved another milestone in his comeback this week at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

After firing a 2-under 68 on Friday, Woods was tied for the lead at 7-under with Justin Rose. It marked the first time Woods had held the lead in a tournament after 36 holes in three years.

The last time he did that was August 2015 when he led the Wyndham Championship at the halfway point. He fell back in that event, eventually won by Davis Love, after shooting even par in the final round to finish 10th.

But this time it feel different. Woods has been one of the most consistent players on tour this year. He’s made 16 or 18 cuts and has seven top 10 finishes, including second-place finishes at the PGA Championship in August and the Valspar Championship in March.

Two weeks ago at the BMW Championship he was also in contention, finishing sixth.

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“This is not an easy golf course,” Woods said after the round. “This is a grinders’ golf course. You’ve got to keep hanging in there and making a lot of pars, and I did that today.”

“I didn’t quite hit it as sharp as I did yesterday, but I ground out a round and shot something under par,” he said.

Woods hasn’t won a tournament since 2013. A win here would end his comeback season with a bang. Not only is he in a position to win his first tourney in five years, he has a chance to win the Fed Ex Cup. As of Saturday morning, Woods stood in 20th place in the standings.

Bryson DeChambeau was first, 1,398 points ahead of Rose, but he really hurt his chances with a bad showing through the first two rounds. He was at 6-over par for the tournament in a tie for 27th place — out of 30.

Rose was in prime position to take the Cup. If he wins the Tour Championship, he wins the Fed Ex Cup. Even if he places in the top three he stands a good chance of winning.

Woods can win the Cup if he wins the Tour Championship, but a lot of other pieces have to fall into place. DeChambeau would have to finish 15th or worse, while Rose would have to finish fifth or worse, and Tony Finau, who is in third place in the standings, would have to finish third or worse.

There are also scenarios where several others, including Dustin Johnson, who was in fourth place, Justin Thomas, who was in fifth, and Keegan Bradley, who was in sixth, can win the Cup.

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But if Woods takes care of business and wins the Tour Championship, his odds get a lot better. Right now, he’s focusing on one hole, and one round, at a time.

“This is not an easy golf course — a little different than where we were two weeks ago (at the BMW Championship) when we were firing at absolutely every flag,” he said. “This is different. This is very much strategic and (requires) lots and lots of patience here.”

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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