Tiger Woods is on the verge of winning a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title in the weather-effected Zozo Championship in Japan.
Woods holds a three-shot lead over local favourite Hideki Matsuyama with seven holes of his final round to be completed on Monday at Narashino Country Club.
The 15-time major winner had earlier compiled a third round of 66 with six birdies and two bogeys and, after a break of 48 minutes, made the ideal start to round four with a birdie on the first.
Woods dropped a shot on the fourth but the 43-year-old bounced back to birdie the next two holes and extend his lead to five shots, only for Matsuyama to birdie the 11th and 12th to close the gap before play was suspended due to darkness.
“It was a long day in the saddle,” Woods, who is playing his first tournament of the season following a nine-week lay-off for knee surgery and was three over par after three holes on Thursday, told Golf Channel.
“I felt like I played all right, I made a few mistakes here and there but I kept it pretty clean for most of the day and took my birdies when I had opportunities. The greens are soft so we can fire at just about every flag.”
Leaderboard @ZOZOChamp when the final round was suspended due to darkness:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 27, 2019
1. @TigerWoods -18 (11)
2. Hideki Matsuyama -15 (12)
T3. Sungjae Im -12 (14)
T3. @GaryWoodland -12 (10) pic.twitter.com/RbGi59SP66
Woods, who will equal Sam Snead’s record if he can complete victory on Monday, added: “I’m going to try and win, there’s no doubt about that.
“I’ve got a job to do tomorrow and start off on the 12th hole. It’s not exactly the easiest of holes, so right out of the gate I’ve got one of the hardest par fours on the golf course. It certainly will have my attention.
“As the holes have gone by I’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable. I didn’t start off very good this week, bogeyed my first three holes, but after that it’s been pretty good.”
South Korea’s Sungjae Im and US Open champion Gary Woodland are six shots off the pace with four and eight holes to play respectively, with Rory McIlroy a stroke further back.
McIlroy, who fired an eagle and six birdies in a third round of 63, has just two holes of his final round to play.
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