Tiger Woods misses Valspar Championship by one stroke

Jonas Blixt of Sweden plays a shot during a recent tournament

Sunday is expected to bring the largest crowds, especially for those wanting to watch Woods.

Conners, 26, made out only marginally better than Snedeker.

A three-time Ryder Cup player for Europe, his only previous USA tour title came at the 2009 Houston Open.

Another man who will fancy his chances in The Masters is Tiger Woods.

"I can confirm he's back". He even went so far as to say that he was pulling for Woods to get the job done. It's fun to hear the crowd going insane again and realize how excited we are in having him back out here and playing the way he is.

"The clean-ups on 16, 17 and 18 - fantastic", Casey said.

World No.5 Rose, meanwhile, has been on fire recently with three wins in his past nine starts worldwide.

So he at least knows what to expect.

"I'm excited", Woods said. "But it will be cool. I just didn't hit it hard enough".

Conners smiled when he heard the cheer for Woods when he chipped in at No. 9. He curled it in from the right, prompting an explosive applause from the large crowd.

"It's going to be good for me to get back", Woods told reporters. "Tiger!" Others were yelling, "U-S-A!" And then Woods missed again.

Woods responded in style, blazing a drive 327 yards at the par-five 14th to set up a birdie that put him back at eight-under. It was like that all day.

"I loved it. I played great". He's on the leaderboard and challenging for the lead.

"Tiger is so back".

"I am excited", he said.

"I'm up there", Woods said. I moved myself up the board.

"I've had some good memories there", he said.

Next up is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando next weekend, an event Woods has won eight times. He hasn't won a tournament when trailing going into the final round since the AT&T National at Congressional in 2012. "I had really some nice building blocks at Honda (equal 12th two weeks ago) and I've had a few tweaks for this week and it paid off".

It was a swooning ball, an operatic ham of a putt playing to the back row of the theatre, curling fractionally and dipping nearly regretfully into the cup. While it just wasn't in the cards, and Woods fell just one shot short, golf fans around the world didn't care. "It showed in my amount (two) of birdies today".

It was very, very enjoyable watching him play. "Little mistakes will get you over the course of a week and it got me in the end". I needed something to happen. "I made a few tweaks overnight which I didn't like about Friday". I putted really, really well on the back nine.

It all depends on what standard you wish to hold the 42-year-old legend to at this unusual point in his spectacularly unusual career.

His sharp short game was on full display when he chipped in for birdie from 30 feet away in the greenside rough at the par-four ninth, his ball rolling neatly into the middle of the cup.

Ernie Els: "I'm seeing the normal Tiger, the Tiger I've known for 24 years". "I want him to win again - because I want these kids to see what we dealt with for a long, long time".

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