A second world title in three weeks is in Luke Donald's sights after a third round 66 at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in Miami.
But, having charged from 11th place and four shots back into a share of the lead, a closing bogey means England's World Number Three will still be playing catch-up when he resumes.
Donald, never behind all week as he won the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Tucson, is in joint second spot, two behind American Dustin Johnson on 11 under par. Alongside him are two more of the home contingent, Matt Kuchar and Nick Watney.
"If I keep playing like I did today I'm going to have a chance," said the 33 year old, who with Lee Westwood down on two under with Tiger Woods could well go second in the Official World Golf Ranking with another victory.
The big surprise was not that Woods and Phil Mickelson, playing together for the third day in a row, failed to lift themselves out of the pack, but that new World Number One Martin Kaymer fell back after resuming joint second.
The German had a 74 and slipped to 14th, while overnight leader Hunter Mahan's two closing bogeys for a 71 means he is now three back in joint fifth spot.
Donald hit a 60 yard pitch to three feet on the long first and picked up further strokes at the fifth, sixth and eighth before starting for home with two more birdies.
The best of the day was still to come, though. In a fairway bunker at the 14th - and close to the lip - he struck his approach to seven feet and sank the putt.
However, on the difficult last he pushed his drive, had to lay up and then missed a nine foot par putt.
Johnson is the player who failed to break 80 in the final round of the US Open Championship last year when three clear and he then saw his US PGA Championship hopes crushed by a two stroke penalty when one ahead with one to play for grounding his club in what he did not know was deemed a bunker.
He was round in a best-of-the-day 65 and took the outright lead when Watney, six under for the round at the time, drove into the water at the 18th and ran up a double bogey six.
Asked what it would take to seal victory on Sunday, Johnson replied: “I'm going to have to play well. It's going to take another good round. I played well today, drove it well, putt it well, hit the ball well - so I'm going to have to do that again tomorrow.”
In contrast to Watney Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy came back into the hunt with two closing birdies for a 69 and ten under aggregate to be alongside Mahan, Italian Francesco Molinari and Australian Adam Scott.
WGC-HSBC Champions winner Molinari said: “It's quite packed and I'm quite happy with the way I played.
“I was going very well on the first few holes and I just three putted the seventh, and couldn't really get anymore birdies until the 16th. Then 18, I hit a good tee shot and I think I just got a gust of wind with the second shot, because it was a good shot. It's a tough hole, so bogey is acceptable.”
Scot Martin Laird and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington are one further back after rounds of 70 and 68 respectively.
“I had plenty of chances,” said Harrington. “The bogey on 15 was horrible but it was nice to chip and putt the last. I felt like I had gotten it back on 18 when I had given a shot away on 15 - always nice to finish that way.”