ORLANDO, Fla. -- Arnold Palmer was walking into the locker room Saturday morning at Bay Hill when he bumped into Tiger Woods, who recently surpassed him on the PGA Tour's career victory list by winning every tournament since September.
"He told me to get off my butt and play a good round," Woods said.
He responded with birdies on the three toughest holes at Bay Hill for a 4-under 66 and a share of a five-way tie for the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
When a zany, windy and splash-filled afternoon finally ended, Woods was in a familiar position as he tries to extend a winning streak that stretches to September. He shot a 4-under 66 and will be in the final pairing today with Sean O'Hair, who won last week at Innisbrook and shot the best round of the week with a 63.
They were at 6-under 204, joined by Bart Bryant (68), Bubba Watson (68) and Vijay Singh (73).
Singh, who led by two entering the day, dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch in his front nine of 40. Singh might have been even worse off except for holing out a 30-foot chip for par after hitting into the water on the 16th.
Woods was only lurking at 4 under and didn't figure to gain any ground over the final four holes, two of them into 20 mph gusts, the final three with water fronting the green.
But he carved a 4-iron around the trees to 2 feet on the 15th, then hit a 7-iron that held up against the wind and dropped 3 feet right of the flag. That gave him birdies on the two toughest holes of the third round, and it put him in the final pairing for the fifth straight time on the PGA Tour.
"I've played my way back into the tournament," Woods said, two hours before the leaders finished.
Sixteen players were separated by a mere three shots heading into the final round. One was Hunter Mahan, who bogeyed two of his final five holes and still shot 65. He was one shot behind at 205.
By all rights, it's anyone's tournament.
"It's pretty much Tiger's game," Bryant said. "When Tiger plays great, he's tough to beat. The guy has won six or seven in a row or something, and he's not playing great and he's tied for the lead. So you figure he's got to play good at some point. But not to say that somebody can't go out and play a great round and beat him. And not to say he's going to play perfect golf, either.
"It's definitely there for the taking."
Nine players had at least a share of the lead at some point during the third round. And in rapid-fire succession, most took a plunge.
Singh got it all started by taking double bogey on the par-5 sixth with a tee shot in the water, and another ball in the pond in front of the eighth green that led to bogey. He was the only one who truly recovered -- he birdied the next two holes, then escaped trouble on the 16th.
Nick Watney made two eagles, the second one at No. 12 to take a two-shot lead. He came unraveled with a tee shot out-of-bounds, another shot into the water and a putt he missed from 4 feet -- all on the 16th hole, leading to a quadruple-bogey 8.
He went from the lead to 12th, and wound up in a five-way tie for seventh, only two shots behind.
"I'm closer to the lead than when I started," Watney said.
LPGA TOUR, at Huixquilucan, Mexico -- Lorena Ochoa fought to recover from a rough first round in the MasterCard Classic, shooting a 2-under 70 that left the top-ranked Mexican star 11 strokes behind leader Ji-Young Oh.
Oh, a 19-year-old from South Korea, had five birdies in a bogey-free 67 to top the leaderboard at 9-under 135. Taiwan's Yani Tseng, a 19-year-old rookie, was 7 under after a 69. First-round leader Jill McGill (73) was 6 under.
CHAMPIONS TOUR, at Santa Clarita -- Brad Bryant shot a 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead in the AT&T Champions Classic, while first-round leader Nick Price's 77 left him six strokes back.
Bryant, the 2007 U.S. Senior Open champion, had a 7-under 137 total on the Valencia Country Club course. He had an eagle and five birdies and nearly had a second eagle on the 18th when his 66-yard wedge shot spun back by the hole, leaving just 3 feet for birdie.
EUROPEAN TOUR, at Jeju Island, South Korea -- India's Jeev Milkha Singh shot an 8-under 64 for a share of the lead with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (66) at 18-under 198 in the Ballantine's Championship at the Pinx Golf Club.