Woods still targeting Nicklaus' major record

Tiger Woods has confirmed he is determined to be in the hunt for Jack Nicklaus' major tally as he continues his rehabilitation on the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Woods - cropped

Tiger Woods says he has returned to golf determined to hunt down Jack Nicklaus' major tally as he continues his rehabilitation on the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Woods shot seven birdies in a >topsy-turvy round of 70 on Saturday, leaving him 10th on the leaderboard, 11 shots adrift of runaway leader Hideki Matsuyama - who is seven strokes clear of his nearest competitor, Henrik Stenson.

The 14-time major winner produced some of the old magic, finding the cup from the bunker at the par-three fifth to pick up a fourth shot in his opening five holes. Bogeys at six, 13 and 14, as well as a double at the last undid some of that good work, but Woods remains positive in his comeback from 15 months out of the game due to back surgery.

When asked if he was still chasing Nicklaus' 18 majors, Woods told the Golf Channel: "Absolutely. I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel like I can play at the highest level. I've got too much pride, and if I can't play at this level any more, I won't do it. But I know I can. My first five, six years on tour I ran 30 miles a week, there's no way I'm doing that now.

"I watch these guys play... When I came out I was second longest at 296 [yards], and halfway through the year over 50 guys are averaging over 300 yards. The game of golf is about eliminating mistakes. How bad is your bad? Everyone here's good is good. It's a physical chess match. Over the course of my career I've been able to do that well, I'm going to have to do that differently now."

'Tough road to get back'

Woods has picked up 12 birdies on the front nine across his three rounds at Albany, something that enthuses the 40-year-old.

He said: "The biggest surprise for me as a player who's taken time off is finding the flow of the round and finding some positiveness (sic) early in my rounds and for three straight days I got off to great starts. Two of the three days I didn't continue it but overall I'm just so happy to be back out here competing again and fighting against these guys. It's been a tough road to get back to this point and it's just... I missed it."

Matsuyama came into this tournament with three wins and a runner-up finish under his belt from his previous four outings. And he looks well-set for another victory after shooting his third-straight 60-something round on Saturday.

Japan's World No. 6 shot 65 for a second time this week thanks to seven birdies and an eagle at seven, as his approach shot bounced perfectly into the cup. Only bogeys at eight and 16 stopped Matsuyama opening up a mammoth lead.