ATLANTA — Tiger Woods is three shots ahead and one round away from capping his comeback season with a moment that has defined his career.

Winning.

Woods played the most dynamic golf he has all year Saturday with six birdies in his opening seven holes to build a five-shot lead. He cooled from there with a few mistakes and had to settle for a 5-under 65 and a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the Tour Championship.

He has the 54-hole lead for the first time since his last victory in 2013 at the Bridgestone Invitational. He has never lost an official tournament when leading by more than two shots going into the final round, and his closing record with the lead is 42-2 on the PGA Tour.

Woods has never been in better position to show he’s all the way back from four back surgeries that once made him fear he might never play again.

“I’ve gone through a lot this year to get myself to this point, and understanding and fighting my way through it,” Woods said. “I’m certainly much more equipped than I was in March because of what I’ve gone through.”

Woods was at 12-under 198 and will be paired for the first time in final group with McIlroy on the PGA Tour. McIlroy birdied two of his last three holes for a 66.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe topped the Sanford International leaderboard again after another cool and breezy day in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

After matching Jerry Smith and David McKenzie with first-round 7-under 63s, Striker and Jobe each shot 67 to get to 10-under 130 at Minnehaha Country Club. Jobe made an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, and Stricker missed a 6-footer to leave them tied.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Tom Lewis came within two shots of tying English countryman Oliver Fisher’s European Tour record on another day of low scoring at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, Portugal.

Lewis returned a 10-under 61 in the third round, just 24 hours after Fisher carded the first 59 on the circuit. Lewis moved to two strokes behind leader Lucas Herbert of Australia.

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