Tiger still in the hunt as Casey storms into Valspar lead

Paul Casey led the way at the Valspar Championship, but Tiger Woods and Justin Rose were still ominously placed with nine holes to play.

Tiger Woods during round four of the Valspar Championship   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods was two off the pace with nine holes to play at the Valspar Championship, as Paul Casey charged into pole position on a congested and star-studded leaderboard in Florida.

Having begun the final round one shot adrift of the lead held by rookie Corey Conners, Woods drew predictably huge crowds when he began a Sunday pursuit of his first PGA Tour title since 2013.

Golf's biggest star had played superbly in round three, but was not quite as sharp in the opening half of his final round.

Nevertheless, after turning in a level-par 36, Woods was still very much in contention, two behind a surging Casey, who stormed into first place as three birdies in succession from the 11th took him to six under for the day and 10 under for the tournament.

A thrilling finale was in prospect at Palm Harbor, with Justin Rose scrambling hard around the greens to stay one behind fellow Englishman Casey.

Patrick Reed – who eagled the first – Sam Burns and Sergio Garcia were alongside Woods at eight under, the Masters champion six under for his final round through 17 holes.

Woods started confidently, immediately claiming a share of the lead with a two-putt birdie at the 560-yard first before recording stress-free pars on the second and third.

However, a bogey followed on the fourth and the 14-time major champion was unable to get things going for the rest of his front nine, his frustration compounded when a birdie putt at eight lipped out with Woods walking towards the hole.

Conners had led overnight on nine under, but the PGA Tour rookie started with two bogeys in his first three holes and looked understandably nervous in the biggest round of his career to date. Woods' playing partner, Brandt Snedeker, also slipped down the field.