Lee Westwood produced the round of the day in his bid for a Major breakthrough as the European challenge on the US Open intensified at The Olympic Club.
The World Number Three, who started the week with a double bogey six, holed a 40 foot birdie putt at the last for a round of 67 to lie in the group on two over par and just three off the lead held jointly by Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.
Ernie Els, Nicolas Colsaerts and Blake Adams were also on the two over mark, with Fredrik Jacobson one stroke better.
Westwood, making his 57th attempt to win a Major, started the day in 29th place, but birdied the fifth and seventh holes. He promptly bogeyed the next two holes to undo his hard work, but then started for home by holing from 12 and five feet on the 10th and 11th.
With Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy missing the halfway cut, victory for Westwood would see him regain the World Number One position he last held 13 months ago.
He failed to birdie the two par fives, the 16th and 17th holes, but swiftky banished that disappointment with a 40 footer for birdie on the last to sign for a brilliant 67, a score matched only by Casey Wittenberg.
Westwood's climb to tied fourth represented an improvement of 25 spots from his overnight position.
“I’m really pleased,” said Westwood, who won last week’s Nordea Masters in Sweden. “I gave myself a lot of really good chances out there.
“It was nice to hole the really long one at 18. I hit a lot more fairways, hit a lot of good shots. I played a really sensible, professional round out there.”
"This is another one I could win," he added, after being reminded he had had ten top-tens and seven top-threes in Majors.
"I'm doing something right, aren't I? I've played well and I've been close. Somebody has played a little bit better and I've made a few mistakes. I'm learning and I think I have a lot of game for Major Championships.
“I think I've probably been this contention in Major Championships more than anybody else over the last three or four years. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully going to go out and have some fun and see what happens.”