While all eyes continued to focus on Tiger Woods during the third round of the Hero World Challenge on Saturday, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama ran away with the tournament lead.
Matsuyama recorded his second 65 in three days to race to 19-under, giving him a 7-stroke lead over Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson.
Woods, the tournament host, followed up his thrilling Friday 65 with a 2-under 70 to drop one spot to 10th at 8-under. He won’t catch Matsuyama, but he’s just one shot out of seventh and four out of second.
He’s also ahead of four men who he helped coach on the US Ryder Cup team earlier this year – Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, and Patrick Reed.
“I’m very pleased to be back and to be able to compete at this level again,” Woods said. “It’s been a very, very difficult road. You guys [in the media] were all here last year, and I did not feel very good. I was really, really struggling, and I struggled for a very long time. Worked with my physios and had to be very patient and was finally able to start building — and here we are.”
“Only Tiger could take a year-and-a-half off and put up the numbers he’s putting up this week,” Matsuyama said. “I don’t care how many strokes I’m leading over him, I still worry about him, fear him.”