Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship: Tiger Woods on the Lead After Round 3

Carlos TorresContributor IJanuary 28, 2012

Tiger Woods is back in a familiar spot heading into the final round at Abu Dhabi
Tiger Woods is back in a familiar spot heading into the final round at Abu DhabiAndrew Redington/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is the co-leader along with Britain's Robert Rock at 11-under(-par) going into the final round on Sunday the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Woods and Rock each shot a six-under(-par) 66 today. For Woods, this is his best round anywhere since the second round of the Masters last year, where he also shot a 66.

They hold a two-shot lead over US Open Champion Rory McIlroy, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie and Francisco Molinari.

Woods played a bogey-free round—his second of the tournament—today. He took the outright lead from Paul Lawrie at 10-under(-par) with a rare birdie at the par-four 14th hole. 

Later, on the 587-yard, par-five18th hole, Woods hit a massive drive and was able to reach the green in two.

With a tricky, downhill, right-to-left break eagle-putt try from over 50-feet, Woods played it smart by leaving it just a couple of feet at the left side of the cup.

Woods made the birdie putt afterwards to hit the clubhouse with the outright one-shot lead. But Rock was in the rearview mirror and could also make birdie on the closing hole.

Rock tied Woods for the lead at 10-under(-par) after making a birdie on the par-four 14th hole, but then made bogey on the par-four 16th hole to fall one shot behind.

But Rock closed with back-to-back birdies. 

On the 18th hole, he laid-up and hit a brilliant third shot to within eight-feet from the hole. Rock was able to sink the birdie putt and finish in a tie with Woods for the lead.

Now, the true test comes for Rock as he joins Woods on the final group tomorrow and all the eyes will be on their pairing.

McIlroy was able to keep pace with Woods, as he made the turn at seven-under(-par) just two shots from Woods.

He was able to cut that lead to one shot after making birdies on the 15th and 17th holes and looked like he was putting the pressure on Woods and might even tie him on the closing hole.

But McIlroy's tee shot on 18 went wide right into the side off the water ridge. His second shot went into the waste area behind the big scoreboard on the 18th green, which went into play and entitled McIlroy to get some relief.

McIlroy got a drop in the rough and with his ball back in play, his third shot went to the green just outside 20-feet from the hole.

His made a great birdie putt attempt that went just inches off the right side of the hole and had to settle for par and two shots off the lead.

The leader opening the round, Dane Thorbjørn Olesen, shot one-under(-par) today. He is three shots off the lead at eight-under(-par) and into a tie for seventh place with George Coetzee, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet and James Kingston.

Woods might be feeling great when looking at his chances of taking the Abu Dhabi title. The last four winners of this tournament have lead or co-lead after three rounds. 

Same holds true for Rock.

A win for Woods here would finally bring his comeback closer to full circle. He could somewhat silence his detractors, as he would have finally won an event with the top players in the world in the field.

What a final round Sunday will be.