Tiger Woods ties for second in Valspar Championship

Paul Casey

He ended the day shooting 70, one stroke behind Casey, the Briton who had himself not won on tour since 2009 - 132 starts - and was sweating it out for some 90 minutes, watching from the clubhouse with a final round 6-under 65 vaulting him into the lead.

Woods and his massive following went dormant after an opening birdie to briefly share the lead. He followed that up with two pars and a bogey and then went 12 holes without a birdie or a par before giving us all a little bit of that Tiger magic we've been missing.

It is his highest finish in an official tournament since he tied for second at The Barclays in 2013.

Woods holed a stunning birdie on the 17th but was unable to repeat the feat down the last as he finished nine under. He is getting better with each tournament, though he didn't feel sharp with his irons on Sunday and played too often to the fat of the greens. I remember it and on top of that my game is sharp.

"It was just one of those day where I just kept getting a half-club and not quite get the full club".

Never mind that Conners had six birdies in his round of three-under 68 for a one-shot lead last Saturday as he tries for his first Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) Tour victory.

The old-time roar faded, though, and his bid to force eventual victor Paul Casey to extra holes also petered out when his long birdie putt stopped a couple of feet short at the par-four 18th.

Woods played conservatively with an iron off the 442-yard, uphill closing hole on the Copperhead course.

Woods has endured a hard few years - with his last tour victory coming at the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013 - but is beginning to show some promising signs ahead of the Masters next month.

"I keep getting a little bit better here and there, making these little subtle tweaks", said Woods, who was sidelined for all of 2016 before an abortive comeback bid past year. "I had a good shot at winning this golf tournament. Couple putts here and there would have been a different story". It's the thing that's been holding me back and the frustrating thing for a couple of years. Snedeker is streaky with his putter, but looks to be in form this week.

Casey, meanwhile, surged to the front at 10-under after 14 holes as an English one-two finish loomed as a possibility. The only facet that the 40-year-old struggled with was his driver, as he actually hit just 46 percent of his fairways, which was tied for the 10th worst mark of those who made the cut.

Woods, meanwhile, was left to rue a string of missed opportunities. He stood about 44 feet from the hole, before striking the ball on the green.

He was ranked No. 462 in the world three months ago when he shot 61 in the second round and won the Joburg Open.

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