Tiger Woods moved within sight of matching Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour victories, three shots clear of Hideki Matsuyama with seven holes left at the rain-affected Zozo Championship on Sunday.
Woods will resume on Monday morning at 18 under-par after 11 holes of his final round at Narashino Country Club, while local favourite Matsuyama will pick back up at 15 under with six holes left.
Nobody else is closer than six shots in what is realistically a two-horse race, which got a little bit interesting when Matsuyama notched two consecutive birdies to give himself a glimmer of hope.
But the first PGA Tour event in Japan is very much in Woods’ control and asked if he would allow himself to think of matching Snead’s mark, the American did not bat an eyelid.
“I’m trying to win, no doubt about that,” he said.
“If I do what I’m supposed to do and get the job done, then I get a W. I guess that will add up to the 82 number, but my main focus is doing what I need to do to get the W first.”
Snead recorded his 82nd victory in 1965, at the age of 52, nine years older than Woods’ current age.
It was a marathon day for the entire field, more than 10 hours and 29 holes for Woods before darkness forced the suspension of play, and certainly a stern test for a 43-year-old in his first event since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
But Woods passed with flying colours and then some in front of an enthusiastic but exceedingly polite sellout crowd that had its loyalties split between the 15-times major champion and Japan’s top player.