Tiger Woods chases leaders during third round of Arnold Palmer Invitational

Woods shot an opening round of 68 to sit one shot behind Jimmy Walker on four under par

Woods shot an opening round of 68 to sit one shot behind Jimmy Walker on four under par

DeChambeau briefly moved back alongside Stenson with a birdie at the 14th but bogeyed the next, allowing the Swede to temporarily double his lead with a two-putt gain at the par-five 16th.

A record eight-times victor on the Bay Hill layout, the former world number one was in vintage form, mixing six birdies with a single double bogey to put a marker down for a ninth Palmer Invitational title.

Two years ago, he was tied for the lead with five holes to play until two bogeys over the next three holes.

"I've been up in the mix and let's hope for a different outcome tomorrow", Stenson said.

"I sort of messed around on the putting green a little bit, trying to go back to some feels I've had before and putted really well".

"I've got a chance", he agreed. "That was a nice one", the former world number one said of the birdie.

Bryson DeChambeau fired a hot 66 to join Stenson in a share of the clubhouse lead, while unheralded American Talor Gooch (70) is two shots back in outright third at nine under.

"Over the weekend previous year I was hitting driver pretty much everywhere, leaving myself wedges in". "I didn't drop a shot, where I could have easily dropped three shots on those holes".

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But Woods responded with birdies on three of the next four holes, sinking a four-footer at the par-5 fourth and a three-footer at the par-5 sixth. After two solid up-and-downs at 2 and 3, the wheels were in serious danger of spiraling off when he blocked his tee shot well right at the par-5 fourth, the same hole on which he hit it out of bounds Thursday.

Stenson is renowned for his ball striking, and 12 birdies over 36 holes would suggest he's dialed in this week.

However, McIlroy will definitely have something to say about that if he can keep improving himself.

"I scrambled for par on all three after hitting some not-so-good golf shots, kept patient and made three in a row coming home".

"Today was a hard fight, it was a grind", he said.

Rory McIlroy is alone in third and two back at 10 under, 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose is T-4 at 9 under and perennial Bay Hill fan favorite Rickie Fowler is T-6 at 8 under.

The 14-time major victor three-putted the ninth for a second bogey of the day but birdied the 12th and 16th and narrowly missed from 15 feet for another on the last as he seeks a first victory since 2013. He at least managed to birdie the par 5s on the back, and had a tough par save on the 15th.

His last majors win was in 2008, beating Rocco Mediate in a US Open playoff despite a bad leg that would eventually undergo three surgeries.

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