Tiger Woods produces dazzling round to charge up Players Championship leaderboard

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Woods pointed to his tee shot at the 242-yard, par-3 eighth, which landed a little more than 30 feet from the hole; his second shot at the par-5 ninth, which stopped on the fringe from almost 270 yards out; and his towering approach shot at the par-5 11th, which carried two bunkers and part of a pond before landing on the putting surface and leaving him a lengthy eagle putt.

Woods started the day tied for 69th, but moved into fifth after getting to 9 under at No. 12. On the last hole we had 196 and it was just a nine-iron.

"As I've told you guys this week, I got my playing feels back and it's just a matter of playing and executing and putting the shots together", said Woods. His previous best score at the Stadium Course was a 66 in the third round in 2001, when he won the first of his two Players titles.

Although that form slowed later in the round, Woods had few complaints and enjoyed playing some of his most impressive golf in recent years after starting well.

The 42-year-old has displayed patience, outwardly at least, knowing that even a player of his calibre needs some time to get back to near his best after missing so much time through injury. I felt I had better control of hitting it right-to-left and left-to-right.

While it is likely that he won't be in the top 10 at the end of the day, it's clear that when his game is on, he can still go low.

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Because for as much as Woods can rationalize his ability to successfully sweat two straight cuts on hard tracks, to gradually build up his reps and his feels with middling results against stellar fields, these are the types of performances that can leave a lasting impression on a player's psyche.

American Webb Simpson, who begins his third round at 19:40 BST, leads by five shots on 15 under par. "And I think even more so maybe with putting", Simpson said.

"I think I was flawless inside of 12, 15". "I have been doing this event a long time".

What Woods does with this particular effort, what goodwill he can accrue from a round when he finished almost two hours before the tournament leaders began, remains to be seen.

He'll be able to look back on a steamy trip around the Stadium Course that nearly didn't happen, a day when the putts finally fell in bunches, as the latest example that an often-maddening game can sometimes seem easy.

"It's definitely gettable. I know there's a lot of pressure coming down the back nine here, but I think these guys, the way they have setup the golf course today, it's set up for these guys to go low". "I hit a lot of quality shots and 65 was probably as high as I could have shot today, which was kind of nice".

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