Tiger shares lead in Abu Dhabi
Woods and Rock card six-under to pull clear of the chasing pack
Last Updated: 28/01/12 2:35pm
Woods: Flawless display on Saturday and he's made just two bogeys all week
Tiger Woods showed ominous signs of a return to his best to take a share of the lead after three rounds of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Third round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-11 T Woods (US)
-11 R Rock
-9 P Hanson (Swe)
-9 F Molinari (Ita)
-9 R McIlroy
-9 P Lawrie
Click here for collated scores
The former world number one carded a third-round 66, finishing off with a fine birdie at the last to stand atop a crowded leaderboard on which at least 20 players will fancy their chances of a Sunday charge.
Looking in determined mood throughout, Woods had six birdies and avoided any mistakes, making it only two bogeys through 54 holes of his first tournament of the season.
Englishman Robert Rock, playing in the group behind, proved his most consistent challenger and made a birdies at the last two holes to match Woods' 66.
They have a two-stroke lead over the chasing pack which includes Rory McIlroy.
Playing with Woods for the third day running, the US Open champ matched Tiger over the front nine as the pair went out in two-under but McIlroy never had the same consistency off the tee on the back and couldn't keep pace.
Peter Hanson carded the best round of the day, an eight-under 64, to vault from tied 32nd to tied third.
The Swede birdied three of his first five holes and picked up five more shots along the way to be part of a four-man group at nine-under which features McIlroy, Francesco Molinari and Paul Lawrie.
Halfway leader Thorbjorn Olesen struggled after dropping shots at five and six, but three birdies around the turn helped him home in 71, three shots off the leading duo alongside George Coetzee, James Kingston and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet.
Dane Thomas Bjorn and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had showed what was possible on a perfect day for scoring by going to the turn in 30. Both would shoot 65s to end at seven-under and five-under respectively.
Woods wasn't getting carried away by his round despite looking pretty flawless off the tee and in control on the greens.
"I was just kind of consistent today," he said. "I didn't do a whole lot wrong, I didn't do a whole lot right. I was just kind of methodically moving my way around the golf course and six birdies piled up.
"I was just trying to hit the ball in the fairway and then move on from there."
As for the final round, he said: "I've got to go out there, get to it and post a good number."
Rock, meanwhile, just seemed delighted to have the chance of playing in the final round of a big event with a 14-time major winner.
"I can't wait. Pretty cool isn't it. I'm just going to enjoy it," said Rock, whose win at last year's Italian Open was his one and only victory so far on the European Tour.