At one point on Saturday, Ian Poulter held the solo lead, but could not keep pace with his even-par 70.
Of course, a four-shot win at Firestone and a first World Golf Championship victory will make that angst go away quickly.
The world No.3 has 2014 WGC-Bridgestone victor Rory McIlroy (67) and Ian Poulter (70) snapping at his heels three shots back.
It was a different scene from two weeks ago when Woods was in the thick of contention at The Open, leading with eight holes to play before a tie for sixth helped him qualify for the final WGC event at Bridgestone.
Woods opened with a bogey, bounced back with three birdies over his next four holes and looked like he might make a move with his birdie on the 12th.
Fleetwood, a four-time victor on the European Tour who has flashed impressive form in all three majors this year but remains in search of a first title in the United States.
He set the tone early by hooking a pitching wedge over a steep lip in a fairway bunker to just short of the green and saving par with a 6-foot putt, then holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second. And with only 71 players in the field, there is more money to go around.
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Nevertheless, it was England who had the most regrets come the close after Root won the toss on a typically good Edgbaston pitch. Every time England tried to build a partnership, Indian bowlers struck back and it resulted in regular wickets.
"I'm really putting well, just didn't quite hit the putts hard enough today", Woods said. What made this one special was not only the time that had gone by since his last win, but who was waiting for him behind the 18th green. I'm just happy to finally play this place well.
Johnson, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, earned $510,000 for his efforts on a sunny day with temperatures in the 90s in Akron. When I heard everybody yell really loud I knew it was close, " Perry said.
"It was very honest", Johnson said of Tuesday's team meeting.
With the US Tour changing the event's name and moving it to Tennessee next year, the 14-time major winner's hopes of farewelling Akron, Ohio with a first worldwide win in five years are all but over.
"With a three-shot lead, obviously I knew I needed to play well but you kind of have a little bit of wiggle room and you feel like you play maybe a little too conservative".
That was his 79th PGA Tour victory and eighth at Firestone, the venue for this tournament for the last time.
After a bad drive led to a bogey at the first hole, he fired up a large gallery with three birdies in the next four holes, but picked up only one birdie the rest of the way.