Tiger Woods charged into a share of the lead halfway through the third round at the BMW Championship on Saturday.
Woods, who began the day one stroke behind halfway leaders Aaron Baddeley and Jonathan Byrd, was at his best with four birdies in 10 holes at Cog Hill.
Fellow American Steve Stricker kept pace, also gaining four shots in 10 holes to match Woods at 12 under-par, while Australian Baddeley made it a three-way tie for the lead after his ninth hole.
Stricker and Woods are second and third respectively on the FedEx Cup points list, behind leader Phil Mickelson, who has taken the week off.
The three leaders had a handy three-shot lead on the rest of the field, and Justin Rose was among those who fell back, dropping one shot in 10 holes as he failed to take advantage of the benign conditions on the rain-softened layout.
Rose, one of three British players in the field, was five shots behind, in need of a special back nine to claw his way back into the hunt.
Ian Poulter produced another good display with his long game, but struggled on the greens, shooting 69 for four-under, too far back to have a realistic chance of winning.
And it was too little, too late for Chicago-based Luke Donald, who finally gave his fans something to cheer about with a respectable 68.
However, he was still near the back of the field at one-over.
Donald is in danger of losing a spot in next week’s Tour Championship, the final event in the new FedEx Cup standings.
He is 28th in the standings, with only the top 30 on a points list advancing to next week.
After his poor start here, his fate is largely out of his hands, dependent on what others do.
Fortunately, most of the halfway leaders are already ahead of Donald in the standings, so he may avoid being passed by three players, which would tip him out of the top 30.
Rose, 23rd in the standings, is already assured to qualifying for the Tour Championship, but a mediocre third round could prove costly in his quest to move up the standings and have a realistic crack at the $US10m bonus awarded to the points leader after next week.