Woods in position for elusive 80th victory

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods says he's "blessed" to be back after winning his first PGA Tour event in over five years following a long and painful return to form from a back injury.

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.

That's 1,876 days between victories and Woods was mobbed, drawing an excited crowd that followed him from hole to hole and sprinted ahead to No. 18 to bring pandemonium to the final shots.

Woods admitted he had almost been overcome with emotion as he walked up the 18th fairway.

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

Seasoned golf observers have dubbed the cult following around born-again champion Tiger Woods as "a new verison of Tigermania".

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Woods said he knows his late father, Earls Woods, would have been proud of his win and remarked that his children finally know that he is half decent at this golf game. "The fight and the grind and the tough conditions".

"He's played such good golf all year that it is just not surprising", Mickelson said.

"I didn't want to get run over", Woods said with a laugh.

With that, he stepped off to hug his girlfriend, Erica Herman, and tell her "I love you".

Billy Horschel shot a 4-under 66 to finish in second place.

Of his Tour Championship victory, he said: "I was having a hard time not crying on that last hole".

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In under a year, Woods has clawed his way from outside of the top 1,000 golfers in the world to 21st and just improved on that number to move to 13th with his Tour Championship win. Up next, Woods will compete for the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup in France, beginning on September 28.

Woods, who returned in January after missing nearly the entire previous two years with a debilitating back injury, held a three-shot advantage heading into the final round.

Rose kept himself in contention after recovering from bogeys at the first two holes to post a two-under-par round of 68.

Justin Rose lost the battle but won the war, clinching the FedExCup and the $10 million prize that accompanies it with a birdie at the final hole at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday.

Kyle Stanley and Spain's Jon Rahm are a further three shots back on six under, six strokes behind Woods.

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