Woods on the verge in Atlanta

Tiger Woods set the scene for a fairytale ending to his comeback year on Saturday as he fired a superb round of 65 to finish 12-under par and grab a three-shot lead ahead of the final round at the season-ending Tour Championship.

A victory on Sunday in Atlanta would be the perfect ending to 2018 for Woods after his injury hell, and would also be the 80th of his PGA Tour career.

Woods last tasted success back at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone, which coincidentally was the last time he held the lead after 54 holes.

And with a record of 53-4 wins from similar positions, few would bet against the 42-year old sealing a first victory in five years at East Lake.

Trying to stop him will be Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who finished on nine under after rounds of 66 and 68 respectively.

The two next best placed players were Kyle Stanley and Jon Rahm a further three shots behind on six under par.

Rose, playing with Woods in the final group, could not match Tiger’s roaring start. The world number one, who is projected to win the FedEx Cup even if he does not win here, bogeyed the first two holes while Woods traveled in the opposite direction.

The two-time FedEx Cup winner was in blistering form, going on a trademark Tiger charge as he birdied six of his first seven holes to pull well clear of his partner, a position he maintained despite an even par back nine.

McIlroy, meanwhile, was slow and steady. The Ulsterman picked up shots regularly over the 18, the only blemish on his card a bogey at the seventh.

Two birdies in his last three holes saw McIlroy secure joint second place and mean he will go head-to-head with Tiger in what promises to be an enthralling final pairing.

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