Hoffman ups Hero lead to 5 as Tiger falters

Charley Hoffman built his lead to five strokes, while host Tiger Woods struggled in the third round of the Hero World Challenge.

Hoffman followed his 9-under-par 63 with a 70, but Woods didn’t make the first of his two birdies until the 14th hole in a 75 that left him 10 shots back in a tie for 10th at Albany Resort in New Providence, Bahamas.

“It’s ridiculous that it took me 14 holes to make a birdie,” said Woods, playing for the first time since his fourth back surgery in recent years. “At that time, I’d already played four par-5s and nothing happened. But hey, it’s just one of those days. I fought through it, and well, tomorrow is another fight.

“Anything that I did right ended up in a bad spot, and then everything I did wrong, it was really bad. It was just one of those days. … I’ve got to keep fighting. And that’s one thing I’ve always done my entire career, is just keep fighting and try to post the best number I possibly could.

“I really didn’t feel like I was that far off, that’s the crazy part.”

Woods has won the tournament that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation a record five times.

Hoffman, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour from Poway and UNLV, overcame a double-bogey 6 on the 10th hole that brought several of his chasers close, before pulling away again with three birdies on the last five holes for a 54-hole total of 14-under 202.

“I got lucky on some tee balls that didn’t find the bushes and stayed in the sandy areas, and I was able to sort of scrap it around,” said Hoffman, whose last victory came in the 2016 Valero Texas Open.

“I’m going to have to handle my nerves a little better than I did today. To have a chance to win this great tournament, hopefully I can knock it off.”

Second-ranked Jordan Spieth posted a 72 and is tied for second with sixth-ranked Justin Rose of England, who totaled 71, while Francesco Molinari of Italy is three strokes back in solo four after another 71.

Ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta shot 72 and is another shot back in a tie for fifth with Patrick Reed (71), Matt Kuchar (72), Tommy Fleetwood (74) of England and defending champion and fifth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama (72) of Japan.

Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA carded a 74 and is tied for 10th with Woods.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.

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