He took his cap off on the 18th green to shake his playing partner's hand, and suddenly the fantasy was over. This will be the fifth time Snedeker has played with Woods this year. Our eyes could no longer deceive us.
But Woods is just one shot back heading into what promises to be a gut-churning final round Sunday at Innisbrook Resort, where he shot a third-round, 4-under 67 on the Copperhead course to pick up more momentum in his impressive comeback from spinal fusion surgery.
"I have a shot to win (Sunday)", Woods said after a round of five birdies and one bogey. "I've been in this position many times". I've won my share of events. I kind of knew what was going on without even having to see it. "I just need to execute".
Woods ended the round equal second with fellow American Brandt Snedeker (67) and Englishman Justin Rose (66), with Canadian surprise package Conners continuing to lead, the PGA Tour rookie posting a 68 for a nine-under 204 total.
Woods never really saw his name on the board. That didn't last long. Then he made his major mistake of the day, hitting over the green at the 13th, leaving him with a almost impossible chip that he left in a bunker.
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"I don't think this will be leading, but at least I'm there with a chance going into the weekend", Woods said. "Back to the good ol" days, for sure".
"I felt pretty relaxed out there", Conners said. "You have no idea how hard it was". He opened the week ranked 388th in the world rankings, up from 656th at the end of 2017. He's playing top 10 nearly every single week he's played over the last five, six months.
He subsequently missed the cut at Riviera in Los Angeles but enjoyed his most promising result since 2015 when he finished 12th at the Honda Classic in Florida two weeks ago.
He finished with a two-putt par from 20 feet and one nervous moment.
He gave shots back at holes six and seven before a tap-in birdie on the ninth.
For Woods, however, Friday was "a good day", despite the 42-year-old carding his lone bogey of the round at his final hole, the par-four ninth, where his six-foot par putt grazed the hole after his birdie chip had struck the flagstick. Snedeker will be grouped with Woods again Sunday (1:50 p.m. ET). "I was really patient out there, hit a lot of good tee balls and picked my shots to be aggressive at some pins".