Tiger Woods ends five-year drought with Tour Championship win in Atlanta

Tiger Woods has stormed to a commanding lead during the third round of the Tour Championship

SAM GREENWOOD GETTY IMAGES Tiger Woods has stormed to a commanding lead during the third round of the Tour Championship

Five years and four back surgeries later, the most transcendent golfer in history was on the brink of completing his comeback and securing his 80th PGA Tour title.

The 14-time major victor, chasing a first victory since 2013, carded seven birdies in a 65 that took him to 12 under and opened up a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose at East Lake.

Thousands of fans spilled on to the 18th fairway to follow Woods to the green chanting "U-S-A" and "Tiger, Tiger" after his approach found a bunker on the edge of the green.

"I didn't know that Rosie [Justin Rose] had just won the FedEx [Tour Championship] Cup ahead of me", said Woods, congratulating Rose - who stood next to him - and his family.

"But once I got the ball on the green I gave (caddie) Joey (LaCava) a high five because it was done".

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"He was sad after the match, very sad, and we were all sad for him". At half-time we could have been at least three goals up.

Rose forgot about Woods and tried to beat East Lake, a game of match play in his mind, in a bid to stay in the game.

"Simple math says that if I play a clean card, the guys behind me have to shoot 67 to force it into extra", Woods added. The fight, the grind, the tough conditions.

"I didn't want to get run over", Woods said with a laugh. At the 18th hole, he needed a flawless bunker shot and an equally ideal putt to win the tournament.

Woods, whose last win came in the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, told Sky Sports: "I ground out a round today, I wasn't as sharp as I was yesterday and missed a few shots but hung in there with a bunch of pars and made a couple of putts which was nice".

Wood was at 12-under 198 and will be paired for the first time in final group with McIlroy on the PGA Tour.

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Johnson had first moved to world number one in February 2017 and remained atop of the Rankings for 64-weeks until the second week in May this year.

Woods shot one-over par 71 to win by two shots from Billy Horschel, having led by three shots coming into the final round. For the two European Ryder Cup team stars, a three-shot deficit may prove to be insurmountable.

The golfing world has been waiting for the moment the 42-year-old returns to his winning ways, and there's an incredible statistic backing him to do so.

Woods also had a chance to win the FedEx Cup, but his hopes were dependent on Rose finishing worse than sixth in the tournament.

Overnight leader Rose remains in the hunt but will look to improve on Sunday after a two-under-par 68.

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