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Tiger Woods' Round 3 highlights from TOUR Championship 2018

Tiger Woods' Round 3 highlights from TOUR Championship 2018

Tiger Woods will take a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and world No 1 Justin Rose into the final round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta as he seeks to end his five-year victory drought.

Woods, so impressive in his latest comeback this year following a fourth back operation, got off to a flyer at East Lake to open up a healthy cushion over Rose with five birdies in the first six holes to go 12 under. And he has never coughed up a lead of three shots or more.

Woods has looked much more like his old self in recent months after recovering from surgery on a back injury which had threatened to end his career a year ago.

Sunday will be the first ever time Woods and McIlroy play in the final group on the PGA Tour.

"We'll see what happens", McIlroy continued, "but it'll be exciting to be up there and have a chance to win the golf tournament".

For so much of the second round, even as he struggled to keep the ball in play, Woods was making it look that way.

"For the most part, I did that". "It doesn't matter who it is I'm playing with".

"I felt very comfortable when I got in the mix there at Tampa [the Valspar Championship] even though it was very early in the start to this year, " Woods said. Woods received the loudest roar from his gallery by holing a 24-foot birdie putt on the par-three 15th. Only once this year, however, has he started the final round within closer than four shots of the lead. "And with my wedge game right now, a pretty high percentage I would have got that up-and-down".

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"When I grabbed the lead at the Open Championship (it) didn't really feel abnormal, even though it's been years since I've been in those spots", he said. A four-time major victor, McIlroy, 29, has played with Woods just once in a final round, back at the 2012 Masters when both were well out of contention. He was two back.

Woods is 53-4 on the PGA Tour when he holds at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

"This course, the way it's playing right now, you've got to be so patient", Woods said. His flop shot didn't get up the hill and rolled back toward him, and his next pitch was a bump-and-run played to perfection that kept him from another double bogey.

While Woods could win on Sunday and still not necessarily claim the season-long FedExCup points race and the $10 million bonus that goes with it, Rose's fate is in his own hands.

"I've been streaky with my putter", he said.

And so now the tournament heads to Sunday with a familiar focus, all eyes and hopes and narratives trained tightly on Woods and his crimson shirt.

- Tony Finau finishing tied for third or worse.

There used to be no chance against Woods when he was atop the leaderboard going into the final round.

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