Tiger in pole position to end victory drought at Tour Championship

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Woods posted a 12-under 198 total, while Englishman Rose recovered from a bogey, bogey start to card a 68.

Rory McIlroy, victor two years ago of both the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship, remains in the hunt in sole possession of third after shooting a 68.

"It's exciting for people to get a look at him back at his best and it will be fun to be play with him". "I'm certainly much more equipped than I was in March because of what I've gone through".

The current World No. 21 steadied to shoot par on 17 and then sank a two-footer for birdie on 18 to tie his English rival.

Starting in a share of the lead with Rose, the 14-times major champion rattled home birdie putts in six of his first seven holes.

Rose was also pleased with his score, a 67, on a day when he was unable to replicate his first round driving.

But for the second straight day, Woods had trouble at the par-4 16th, where he made a double bogey on Friday and then bogeyed the hole after slipping while hitting his tee shot Saturday.

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He appeared to be building separation against the 30-man field with that four-hole stretch on the back nine that he capped off with a 25-foot birdie putt on the peninsula green at the par-3 15th. There was woe for Woods two holes later after an approach shot missed the green to the right and a subsequent flop shot failed to reach the putting surface. With no option but to chip out sideways he did that and then three-putted for a disappointing double-bogey six.

Woods has 79 PGA Tour victories, three short of the record held by Sam Snead.

"I've heard the roars all day, and it's been phenomenal", Paul Casey said after his 66.

"I've got 36 more holes to go, and hopefully I'll be answering that question come Sunday night".

"We don't play very many places like this where if you have control of your ball, if you have control of your game, you're probably going to have a good chance to win, " Thomas said.

"I've won 14 majors so in order to get ahead I've got to stay patient". He's not ready to think about the prospect of ending his remarkable comeback season with his 80th PGA Tour victory.

A no-nonsense back nine saw Woods hit seven pars with just one birdie and one bogey en route to a superb 65.

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