Lee Westwood set about the daunting task of catching Henrik Stenson in brilliant fashion in the third round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Saturday.
Westwood began the day eight shots behind Race to Dubai and tournament leader Stenson, but had cut the gap to just three as the Swede prepared to get his own round under way.
After finishing his second round with a disappointing run of 11 straight pars, Westwood quickly made amends this morning with birdies at the second, third, fifth, seventh and eighth to improve to nine under par.
He was soon joined on that score by fellow Englishman and Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter, who birdied the first two holes as he looked to keep the pressure on Stenson in the battle to be crowned European number one.
Poulter is one of nine players who can overtake Stenson and win the Race to Dubai, although Stenson could still claim the title by finishing second if Poulter triumphed on Sunday.
Stenson is looking to become the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same season and a flawless second-round of 64 gave the 37-year-old a one-shot lead over Spain's Alejandro Canizares.
Westwood, who won the inaugural event here in 2009 to become European number one for the second time, picked up further birdies on the 10th and 11th - the latter from a matter of inches - to move seven under for the day and 11 under overall.
That was now within one shot of the lead shared by Stenson and Canizares, the Spaniard holing from six feet for a birdie on the par-five second after Stenson failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
Any faint hopes Westwood had of carding the first 59 in European Tour history disappeared when he bogeyed the 12th and missed a good birdie chance on the 13th.
At 10 under par he was also now back to three behind Stenson, who had birdied the fifth as playing partner Canizares bogeyed to open up a two-shot cushion.
France's Victor Dubuisson, who held off the likes of Tiger Woods to win his maiden title in Turkey on Sunday, joined Canizares on 11 under after recovering from a dropped shot on the first with four consecutive birdies.
And Poulter had also bounced back from a bogey on the fourth with birdies on the fifth and seventh.