Tiger Woods evoked memories of his glory days with a blistering run of six birdies in eight holes as he charged into contention for the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday.
Six strokes off the pace overnight, the former world number one fired a five-under-par 67 to end a day of intermittent rain, sunshine and tugging sea breezes four off the early lead.
On the picturesque Pebble Beach Golf Links where he won the 2000 U.S. Open by a record 15 shots, Woods mixed six birdies with a lone bogey to post an 11-under total of 203.
His only disappointment was not to take greater advantage of the easier outward nine, his back nine on Saturday, as he bid for a first victory in a full-field event since the 2009 Australian Masters.
"I'm definitely playing better," 14-times major champion Woods told Golf Channel after totaling only 25 putts in the third round. "My misses are much tighter and my start lines are much tighter.
"The bad days and the bad shots really aren't as bad as they used to be," added the American, who has battled form over the past two years while being plagued with injury problems and the breakdown of his marriage.
"I don't curve the ball as much either way and the ball is flying much straighter. I scored well today ... and the putts went in. It was a lot of fun out there."
Woods made an unpromising start to the third round after teeing off at the 10th in overcast conditions, parring his first two holes before bogeying the short 12th after missing the green to the left off the tee.
He then jumped into overdrive. He birdied the 13th, after hitting an exquisite shot from the left fairway bunker to just two feet, and also the 14th, where he sank an 11-footer.
Woods rolled in 22-foot birdie putts at the 15th and 17th before laying up in two at the par-five 18th and knocking in an eight-footer to reach the turn in four-under 32.
That put him at 10 under overall in a four-way tie for second place with the easier nine to come.
Woods picked up another shot at the par-five second, where he was just short of the green in two, but failed to make up any further ground as he closed with seven consecutive pars.
Seeking his first victory on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in September 2009, he will go into Sunday's final round at Pebble Beach Golf Links trailing pacesetting South Korean Charlie Wi by four shots.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)