Tiger Woods grabs share of lead at Valspar Championship

Tiger Woods grabs share of lead at Valspar Championship

As Woods, who began the day three shots off the lead, played his round and surged to the lead, the crowds following him swelled to a huge gallery, making it look like a major championship.

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, entering last week's tournament, had combined for 121 career PGA Tour victories, but none since 2013.

And with only a handful of tournaments left before the Masters each would surely enjoy a timely boost of momentum before the year's first major.

"It didn't feel very good", Woods said. "I seem to play well on hard golf courses and hit a lot of fairways, got myself into position to make some birdies and fortunate to hole some nice putts on the front-9 and keep myself out of trouble".

The 42-year-old led outright when he made his fourth birdie of the round at the fifth - his 15th - before taking a little gloss off his performance with his lone bogey on his closing hole. According to ESPN, Stenson shot 74 and Speith struggled to 76.

Watney holed a bunker shot on the par-4 16th, made the turn and had an eagle on the first hole. His ball nestled near a tree, giving Woods an nearly impossible angle to get to the green in two.

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Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who was level with Woods after the opening round, was among the late starters on Friday.

Last year, Adam Hadwin made a double bogey six on the 16th (the first hole of the Snake Pit), but two pars on the final holes gave him a one shot advantage over Patrick Cantlay to secure his maiden PGA Tour title. "I definitely like the challenge and like golf courses that put a premium on the fairway and hitting the green". For a moment, it was easy to be transfixed by Woods' swings as he took the fans and viewers back to when he was appointment viewing as a singular force in the golf world.

But that's life, first round leader is our game and the man I'm trusting for a fast start this week is Justin Rose. He tied for 23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open, missed the cut at the Genesis Open, was 12th two weeks ago at the Honda Classic and also plans to play next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"It means I'm there with a chance to win on the weekend", Woods told reporters after the round.

"It didn't feel very good", Woods added.

While Woods was able to avoid serious injury, he admitted it was a little painful on his arm.

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