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Scheffler closes in on Hero World Challenge title as Tiger comeback continues

Scheffler

Even as Tiger Woods continues to show signs of progress from ankle surgery earlier this year, world number one Scottie Scheffler closed in on a long-awaited prize with the sole lead after Moving Day at the 2023 Hero World Challenge.

Scheffler and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick shot identical 5 under par 67s at Albany Golf Club, but the American led the overall standings with a 16 under 200 total after 54 holes. Fitzpatrick is his closest competitor, three shots back.

For the past two years, Scheffler has finished second to Norway’s Viktor Hovland at Albany, but a near-perfect round on Saturday that included two eagles and a closing bogey suggests he has one hand on the Tiger Trophy.

Justin Thomas was five shots behind the leader on 11 under 205, while Ryder Cup partner Jordan Speith was five shots back with a 68. Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Tony Finau, and Collin Morikawa all started the third round tied for fourth place with 10 under 206s. On level par 216, defending champion Hovland was tied for 16th with Tiger Woods.

Scheffler

Sunday will be the first time since February that Woods has competed in a full 72-hole round.

The game is still in my possession. It is a question of whether or not the body can do it. Every day, I’m pleasantly surprised at how well I’ve recovered. My workouts in the gym have gone well.”

While his recovery has been excellent, his golf has been a different story, with even his short iron game, which was once Tiger’s strongest point aside from the putter, falling well short of par.

“To be able to knock off some of the rust as I have this week and showed myself that I can recover each and every day, that was kind of an unknown,” he said. “I’ve come this far. I’ve completed all of my training. But when you factor in playing, concentration, adrenaline, and all the other factors that speed up everything, I’m very happy.