Tiger Woods shot a 6-under 66 Saturday for a share of the lead after the third round at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
The 14-time major winner played a consistent round to move to 11 under for the tournament.
”It just seemed like I didn’t do a lot of things right but I didn’t do a lot of things wrong today, it was just very consistent,” Woods said. ”You know, made a couple putts here and there … I stayed away from trouble and tried to keep the ball towards the fat side of some of these pins and I think I did a pretty good job.”
Woods is tied with newcomer Robert Rock, who birdied his final two holes to earn the 117th-ranked Englishman a first-ever pairing with the American star on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy (68), Peter Hanson (64), Francesco Molinari (66) and Peter Lawrie (68) are two shots off the pace. Four more players, including overnight leader Thorbjorn Olesen (71) of Denmark, are a shot further back.
Woods, who was two shots back after the second round, started climbing up the leaderboard Saturday with an opening birdie, followed by another on No. 7. He stepped up his game on the back nine, running off four birdies in a bogey-free round that was memorable not for stunning shots but Woods’ ability to sink clutch putts and keep his ball in play.
The former world No. 1 grabbed a share of the lead after he narrowly missed an eagle putt on the 10th and settled for birdie. He briefly took the outright lead with a birdie on No. 14 and rolled in a six-footer for birdie on the 18th. The crowd roared with every birdie but Woods held off from his trademark fist pumping.
”There’s too many guys up there right now. There’s a ton of guys with a chance to win,” Woods said. ”You know, we have not separated ourselves from the field. The field is very bunched. I need to go out there and put together a solid round of golf, and I can’t go out there and shoot even par and expect to win. I’ve got to go out there and go get it.”
Rock, who got his first European Tour win last year in Italy in a playoff with Sergio Garcia, admitted he was star-struck at the prospect of facing off against Woods, calling him ”the best guy I’ve ever seen play golf.”