Tiger Woods picked up two birdies through the first six holes of his third round at the Valspar Championship in Florida but Canadian Corey Conners extended his lead.
The 26-year-old, who was an alternate for the tournament at the start of the week, began the round with a two-shot lead and birdied three of his first four holes to move to nine under par.
That was three ahead of Woods, Sam Burns and Brandt Snedeker, who were in a three-way tie for second. Woods is playing just his fourth PGA Tour event since undergoing spinal fusion surgery - his fourth back operation in three years - last April.
And he is on course for comfortably his best finish after rolling back the years with some of his play, which saw him briefly top the leaderboard on Friday.
Woods showed no sign of allowing his momentum to slip heading into his third round over the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, picking up a birdie three on the third hole and then another at the par-five fifth.
Burns, 21, is having the week of his life and found himself in esteemed company after moving to six under through 12 holes, picking up four shots on the front nine.
England's Paul Casey was in a tie for fifth a further shot back and one in front of Adam Scott and Scot Russell Knox, who were the joint clubhouse leaders after both signing for five-under-par rounds of 66.