Tiger Woods wins 2018 TOUR Championship to end five-year wait for his 80th title as Justin Rose claims FedExCup

Arms aloft: Tiger Woods celebrates his first PGA Tour win since 2013
Arms aloft: Tiger Woods celebrates his first PGA Tour win since 2013

Tiger Woods completed one of the greatest comebacks in sport after holding his nerve to win the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Final leaderboard

-11 Tiger Woods

-9 Billy Horschel

-7 Dustin Johnson

-6 Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson and Justin Rose

Day four report

And only a birdie on the 72nd hole from Justin Rose prevented Woods from claiming the overall FedEx Cup title as well, Rose two-putting from 25 feet on the par-five 18th to claim the £7.6million bonus in remarkable fashion.

Chasing a first win since 2013 and the 80th PGA Tour title of his career, Woods took a three-shot lead over Rose and Rory McIlroy into the last day at East Lake.

And the 14-time major winner was never in serious danger of getting caught despite a late stumble, completing a closing 71 to finish 11 under par, two shots ahead of fellow American Billy Horschel.

It was a day that many thought might never happen again and thousands of Woods' delirious fans spilled onto the 18th fairway to follow their idol to the green after his approach found a greenside bunker.

Chants of "U-S-A" and "Tiger, Tiger" broke out before playing partner McIlroy could attempt his eagle putt, McIlroy wisely then tapping in for his birdie in a disappointing 74 to leave the stage clear.

And, although Woods could not match it, he held his arms aloft in celebration of a brilliant win just days before the Ryder Cup gets under way in Paris.

"At the beginning of the year [winning] was a tall order, but as the year progressed and I proved that I could play and I found a swing and put pieces together I knew I could do it again," Woods told Golf Channel.

"I was having a hard time not crying on that last hole. I said, 'Hey I could still blade this thing out of bounds'.

"Once I got the ball on the green I gave Joey [La Cava, his caddie] a high five because it was was done and I could handle that from there."

In a last-ditch bid to save his career, Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in April last year and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence the following month when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car.

The 42-year-old, who had five prescription drugs in his system, later pleaded guilty to reckless driving, underwent a diversion programme and spent 11 months on probation, returning to competitive golf at the end of November by admitting he was "winging it" as he waited to see if his fused back would hold up.

"I've been in bed for about two years and haven't been able to do much," Woods revealed ahead of the Hero World Challenge, where he would finish ninth in the 18-man field.

Back on the PGA Tour in 2018, Woods missed the cut in his second event but crucially felt fit enough to add tournaments to his schedule and the results soon followed, most notably when he led the Open Championship with eight holes to play and then finished runner-up in the US PGA.

In that sense his victory in Atlanta came as no surprise, but for anyone who had watched Woods become a shadow of his former self in recent years, surprise - or even amazement - would be a completely understandable reaction.

The only disappointment on Sunday was that no-one was able to mount a challenge to Woods, who made the ideal start with a birdie on the first and saw his nearest rivals stumble.

McIlroy's hopes of winning the Tour Championship for the second time in three years disappeared with a front nine of 39, while Rose dropped three shots in six holes on the back nine before his late heroics.

Day three report

Ben Coley's 14/1 pre-tournament selection Tiger Woods is now 4/7 favourite with Sky Bet after seizing control of the season-ending Tour Championship with an outstanding third-round performance in Atlanta.

The 14-time major winner, 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.

The first six of those birdies came in the opening seven holes as Woods, who had been tied for lead with Rose on seven under par, made a blistering start.

He set the tone by holing from more than 20 feet on the first hole. Only a par on the second interrupted his stunning early birdie sequence.

He holed another lengthy putt on the fourth while his birdies on the sixth and seventh came after impressive shots out of bunkers.

There was a setback with a bogey on the ninth but that was cancelled out by another birdie at the par-four 12th.

At one stage he led by five from Rose but he dropped another shot after failing to chip up a slope to the 16th green. He got his second attempt at the shot close to the hole and took a bogey before finishing his round with successive pars.

Rose, who can win the overall FedEx Cup title with victory here, birdied the 16th and McIlroy gained two shots late in his round to cut the deficit but Woods remained in charge heading into the final round.

The American told Sky Sports: "There are some good guys behind me chasing, guys who have been playing well, and I've got my work cut out tomorrow."

Victory for Woods would cap a fine return to the top level this year following spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.

"This whole season has been pretty remarkable considering where I have come from," said Woods.

Rose kept himself in contention after recovering from bogeys at the first two holes to post a two-under-par round of 68. McIlroy shot five birdies in a 66 to move level with his Ryder Cup colleague on nine under.

The American Kyle Stanley and Spain's Jon Rahm were tied for fourth on six under with Paul Casey, Billy Horschel and Tony Finau a shot further back.

Day two report

World number one Justin Rose (5/2 favourite with Sky Bet) and Tiger Woods (11/4) claimed a share of the halfway lead in the Tour Championship in pursuit of hugely significant victories in Atlanta.

Rose carded a second round of 67 at East Lake to finish seven under par, a total matched in the following group by 14-time major winner Woods, who added a 68 to his opening 65.

A second win of the season for Rose on Sunday would see the Englishman secure the overall FedEx Cup title and a bonus of £7.6million, while Woods is seeking a first victory since 2013 to put the seal on his remarkable comeback following spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.

Woods covered the front nine in level par despite finding just two fairways, but birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th briefly gave him a two-shot lead before a costly double bogey on the 16th, where he was forced to play out sideways from a fairway bunker after pulling his tee shot into thick rough.

The 42-year-old bounced back to birdie the par-five 18th and join Rose at the top of the leaderboard, with Rory McIlroy (5/1) two shots off the lead on five under and Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Billy Horschel a shot further back.

Rose, who carded five birdies and two bogeys in his 67, told Sky Sports: "(I'm) happy with that score, it was a little rough around the edges compared to yesterday but you can't play like yesterday every single day. Happy that I was able to find a score out there for sure.

"I was waiting for a bit of momentum, felt like the round had got a little flat around the turn and then those two birdies in a row (on 13 and 14) really got me going. I took a look at the leaderboard at that point and realised that no-one had gone anywhere today, it was obviously a bit trickier for some reason."

As for playing with Woods in the final group on Saturday, Rose added: "I'm very much looking forward to it, in my mind he's the greatest of all time just cause he's in the era I've witnessed.

"It will be an honour to play with him as world number one but there's more at stake than playing with Tiger Woods and I'm looking forward to another day of business and edging my way towards an exciting Sunday."

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."

McIlroy, who won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title in 2016, was left to rue failing to take advantage of the par fives as he added a 68 to his opening 67.

"I'm making enough birdies but I didn't birdie either of the par fives which is disappointing," the four-time major winner said. "If I had been able to do that I might have been a little closer to the lead but no-one is going anywhere out there it seems.

"I'll probably be one or two behind and it was nice to play the last four holes in two under par."

Day one report

Tiger Woods started with a three-putt but ended with an eagle as he fired an opening 65 to share the lead in the TOUR Championship at East Lake.

Woods barely missed a shot all afternoon yet for much of the early part, an unruly putter threatened to undermine some excellent approach play just as it had during the BMW Championship a fortnight earlier.

But after holing from outside 25 feet to get back to level par, then moving to one-under with a birdie at the par-five sixth, Woods was back on track and the best was yet to come, as he holed from 27 feet on the 18th for an eagle.

"Hung in there, made two good putts there at five and six, and that basically turned the whole round around," he told Sky Sports.

"I know how to play this golf course, I know the angles to play it from, I just haven't seen the greens at this speed - man are they quick!"

He added: "The whole idea is to try and keep it consistent. This golf course is playing a little bit more on the difficult side. It's hard to get the ball close out here."

A round of 65 saw Woods share the lead with Rickie Fowler, the pair one ahead of Gary Woodland and Justin Rose, as some of those seeking to leap up the FedEx Cup standings made an early impression.

Rickie Fowler fired an opening 65 at East Lake
Rickie Fowler shares the lead with Tiger Woods

With Playoffs star Bryson DeChambeau struggling, the $10m bonus could be up for grabs and it's new world number one Rose who is best placed after he birdied the final two holes to lie one back.

Rory McIlroy, who won this title in 2016, had made the early running at four-under through six, but a double-bogey at the 12th and a further dropped shot at the 17th saw him settle for a three-under 67.

That number was matched by Justin Thomas, who fought back from two early bogeys despite playing with a taped-up wrist, and Tony Finau, who continued his excellent form as he too worked his way under-par despite a laboured start.

At the other end of the leaderboard, Phil Mickelson ran up a three-over 73 to share last place with Keegan Bradley and Marc Leishman, with Patrick Reed just one better.

DeChambeau did manage to claw his way back to one-over with three back-nine birdies to undo some of the damage of an ugly front-nine, but nonetheless faces an uphill battle to defend top spot in the FedEx Cup standings.

Back towards the head of the leaderboard,Jon Rahm was pleased to show improved form in a round of 68, and that was also the score registered by England's Paul Casey plus defending champion Xander Schauffele and Australia's Jason Day.

Dustin Johnson closed with an eagle as he found his way back to one-under alongside the likes of Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka.

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