Athletes and fans hail Tiger Woods comeback victory in Atlanta

Rory Mc Ilroy will partner Tiger Woods in the final round

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.

Rose entered the final round as the projected victor, tied for second in the event, three shots back of Woods.

"Once I got the ball on the green, I gave Joey [LaCava, caddie] a high five cos' it was done, I could handle that from there".

During the presentation, at which Woods, 42, was emotional, Rose lauded the 14-time major champion for his return to winning ways.

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

The group of golfers he competed against included 18 of the top 20 players in the game; his win ended a five-year period in which he had no titles to his name.

"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".

Now he is expected to go to No. 13 in the world after dropping as low as 1,199th late past year.

The 14-time major victor was nearly robotic during a third round of five-under-par 65, which elevated him to 12 under - three shots ahead of playing partner Justin Rose (68) and Rory McIlroy (66). "I've got a bunch of guys behind me that have been playing well and are playing well, and we'll see what happens tomorrow".

The win is the culmination of an impressive comeback season for Woods, who looks to be a threat at the majors again in 2019.

"I was having a hard time not crying on that last hole", Woods said.

Actually, it started on Saturday, when Woods began his third round with a barrage of birdies.

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 victor Woods, who added a 68 to his opening 65.

Woods eventually won by two shots with victory all-but guaranteed by a trademark, laser-like iron approach to the final hole.

Woods was never seriously challenged in the final round after starting with a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

He cooled off on the back nine en route to a 12-under 198 total, while Englishman Rose recovered from a bogey, bogey start to card a 68.

"The double trophy would have meant a lot", Rose said, "but at the end of the day, like I said, Plan B was a pretty important one".

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