Woods was six off the lead at the halfway stage after consecutive rounds of 71, and he made a solid start to the third round as he opened with three pars before beginning his march up the leaderboard with a birdie at the fourth.
He finally managed to birdie the long sixth for the first time this week, and the roars of the huge gallery following the three-time champion got progressively louder as he reeled off three straight birdies around the turn to pull within one of the lead.
The 42-year-old then found himself in a tie at the top when he hit the 14th green in two and safely two-putted for his sixth birdie of the round, but he finally faltered at the 16th when his tee shot failed to reach the back tier and he needed three putts to get down.
Woods appeared likely to blot his card again at the last, where he pulled a long iron from the tee too far left and watched anxiously as his ball held up in the thick rough just a couple of feet away from the Barry Burn.
But, after gouging his ball back into play, Woods clipped a delightful third to three feet and rattled in the par-saving putt to stay at five under heading into the final round.
More to follow …