By Larry Fine
WINDERMERE, Florida (Reuters) - Tiger Woods shot a two-under 34 for the first nine holes in Sunday's final round of the Hero World Challenge in what his mother said was a bid to escape last place in the 18-player tournament he hosts.
"He said, 'I'm sick and tired of being in last place,'" his mother, Kultida, told Reuters from behind the first green, where she watched Woods two-putt from 25 feet to open with a par.
"He says he is feeling better."
The 38-year-old Woods, returning to competitive golf after four months off to rehabilitate from back problems, opened the tournament with a 77 but has improved each round despite suffering from a fever and nausea.
"If he can play with a broken leg, he can play with a fever," said his mother, referring to Woods's playoff triumph at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines -- his last major success
Woods, who prevailed over Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff for that title, had suffered a double stress fracture in his left leg two weeks before the U.S. Open to go along with torn knee ligaments but played anyway.
He began Sunday in last place at even-par 216, two strokes behind Steve Stricker, and made the turn one shot back of Stricker and Hunter Mahan.
The former world number one was a massive 19 shots behind runaway leader Jordan Spieth, who led fellow American Keegan Bradley by eight strokes.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)