Orlando: Looking like his old imposing self, Tiger Woods surged into the third round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Saturday, setting his sights on winning an eighth Bay Hill title and retaking the No. 1 ranking.
Four back of overnight leaders Justin Rose and Bill Haas when the day began, Woods walked off the course to thundering cheers and in full command after returning a brilliant six-under 66 for a two-shot lead over compatriots John Huh (71) and Rickie Fowler (67) as well as Briton Rose (72).
Woods, who had a disastrous end to his second round on Friday with three consecutive bogeys, stumbled out of the gate on Saturday when he found the fairway bunker with his opening drive but his putter was working early and he dropped an 11-foot putt to save par.
To no one’s great surprise, he soon discovered his comfort zone on one of his all-time favourite layouts, mixing an eagle and five birdies with a single bogey.
Seven-times, including last year, Woods has triumphed at “Arnie’s Place” and one more victory on Sunday would match Sam Snead's PGA Tour record for most wins in a single event. It would also see him reclaim top spot in the world rankings from Rory McIlroy.
“Generally our schedules are such that once we figure out what golf courses we like, we tend to play them,” Woods told reporters. “That's been the case with my scheduling and look at few events over the course of my career I've played well on and this is one of them.”