Arnold Palmer Invitational 2018: Henrik Stenson Leads Entering Final Round

Woods found a greenside bunker at the par-3 second hole and missed a 10-foot par putt but answered the bogey with birdies on three of the next four holes.

Stenson and DeChambeau were at 11-under 133, two shots clear of PGA Tour rookie Talor Gooch (70).

Woods wasn't almost as sharp, didn't make a birdie until the 12th hole and shot 72. I feel like over the last couple of months of 2017 into this year I sort of rediscovered my love for the game a little bit. After hitting a good shot on 17 and just buried in the face, I just didn't want to - I just felt like seven (under) was within reach. "I didn't drop a shot, where I could have easily dropped three shots on those holes". Rickie Fowler (-8) and Tiger Woods (-7) are among those in the top 10 through 54 holes.

"Henrik has played great", McIlroy said.

That overall total of 7-under, though, leaves him a handful of strokes behind the current leaders, while fellow contenders include the likes of Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy. On the far edge of the seventh green, Woods curled the ball to the right, watched it pick up speed and roll into the cup from 71 feet for a birdie that brought a smile to his face and a raised hand to acknowledge the crowd's cheers. He was six shots behind, along with Ernie Els (70). "But I'm in a better position this Friday than I was last Friday, so I'll take anything I can get".

Stenson settled down from there and ran off three straight birdies, two from close range, the last one from 20 feet on the fringe. Much like his second round, it was another grind for Woods, but he holed enough long putts to stay in the hunt, none bigger than his final putt of the day from 12 feet at the par-4 18th.

When Woods picked up Sam, 10, and Charlie, 9, from school the next day, he was surprised to hear them recount his Valspar Championship performance in detail.

Woods trailed after 36 holes in four of his eight victories at Bay Hill, including a seven-shot deficit in 2008.

Woods, a 14-time major victor, again showed solid form with the Masters looming in three weeks, firing a three-under par 69 to stand on 209 through 54 holes at the Orlando layout where he has captured eight career titles.

"There's a lot of guys between myself and the lead", said Woods, who was tied for 17th.

  • Rosalie Stanley