Tiger Woods on the brink of 82nd PGA Tour title

Woods leads Hideki Matsuyama by three as he looks to equal Snead’s record in Japan

Tiger Woods leads by three in Japan. Photograph: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty

Tiger Woods leads by three in Japan. Photograph: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty

 

Tiger Woods moved within sight of matching Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour victories, staying three shots clear of Hideki Matsuyama with seven holes left at the rain-affected Zozo Championship on Sunday.

Woods will resume on Monday morning at 18 under-par after 11 holes of his final round at Narashino Country Club, while local favourite Matsuyama will resume at 15 under with six holes left.

Nobody else is closer than six shots in what is realistically a two-horse race.

But what had seemed like turning into a victory procession for Woods suddenly got a little bit interesting when Matsuyama notched two consecutive birdies to end the day on a high note.

“I played alright,” said an understated Woods. “I made a few mistakes here and there. Pretty pleased with most of the day and I made birdies when I had opportunities.”

Asked if he would allow himself to think of matching Snead’s record, Woods did not bat an eyelid: “I’m trying to win, no doubt about that,” he said.

It was a marathon day for the entire field, more than 10 hours and at least 29 holes before darkness forced the suspension of play, and certainly a stern test for a 43-year-old in his first event since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

But Woods passed with flying colours and then some in front of an enthusiastic but exceedingly polite sellout crowd that had its loyalties split between the 15-times major champion and Japan’s top player.

Saturday’s second round was completed behind closed doors sans spectators due to some muddy conditions but the course was remarkably dry on Sunday, with a few damp spots but nothing more.

The greens remained extremely soft, allowing players to fire aggressively at the pins.

Woods shot 66 in the third round on Sunday morning and had a three-shot lead over Matsuyama after 54 holes.

Collated third round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour The Zozo Championship, Accordia Golf Narashino CC, Chiba, Japan (USA unless stated, par 70):

194 Tiger Woods 64 64 66

197 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 65 67 65

198 Gary Woodland 64 66 68

199 Xander Schauffele 68 66 65, Billy Horschel 68 67 64, Corey Conners (Can) 69 64 66

200 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 72 65 63

201 Matthew Wolff 69 65 67, Charles Howell III 70 65 66

202 Sungjae Im (Kor) 71 64 67

203 Keegan Bradley 69 63 71, Daniel Berger 67 66 70, Danny Lee (Nzl) 70 65 68, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 68 68 67

204 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 69 66 69, Adam Schenk 69 67 68, Ryan Palmer 67 68 69, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 70 68 66, Collin Morikawa 71 64 69

205 Max Homa 71 68 66, Tomoharu Otsuki (Jpn) 70 68 67, Patrick Reed 72 68 65

206 Jason Day (Aus) 73 66 67, Adam Scott (Aus) 73 67 66, Sung Kang (Kor) 67 69 70, Bubba Watson 69 69 68, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 69 68, Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 68 68 70, Paul Casey (Eng) 69 69 68, Ian Poulter (Eng) 71 71 64

207 JT Poston 70 65 72, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 71 68 68, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71 69 67, Shane Lowry (Irl) 71 69 67, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 75 65 67, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 71 69 67

208 Justin Thomas 70 69 69, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 70 71 67, Keith Mitchell 69 68 71

209 Kevin Na 71 70 68, Seung-su Han 72 69 68, Lucas Glover 72 69 68, Yosuke Asaji (Jpn) 72 67 70, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 69 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 73 66 70, Troy Merritt 71 68 70, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 76 67 66

210 Tony Finau 72 69 69, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 74 68 68

211 Pat Perez 72 70 69, Harold Varner III 72 70 69, Adam Hadwin (Can) 71 69 71, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 68 71 72

212 Wyndham Clark 74 68 70, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 74 67 71, Chan Kim 71 69 72, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 73 67 72, Kevin Tway 69 72 71

213 Andrew Putnam 68 72 73, Ryan Moore 72 69 72, Kevin Kisner 75 70 68, Chez Reavie 77 70 66

214 Jason Kokrak 74 70 70, Vaughn Taylor 70 73 71, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 68 75 71, Scott Piercy 78 68 68, Jordan Spieth 74 71 69

215 Sang-hyun Park (Kor) 71 70 74, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 74 69 72, Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn) 72 75 68, Marc Leishman (Aus) 76 70 69, Adam Long 71 70 74, Jinichiro Kozuma (Jpn) 75 69 71

219 Kevin Streelman 78 69 72

220 Joel Dahmen 72 76 72, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 75 71 74

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