(CNN) -- Tiger Woods led the world's elite in their fightback against the 'Blue Monster' Saturday as a six-under 66 left the 14-time major winner in touching distance of an unlikely victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida.
Woods, who almost did not start the tournament after suffering back spasms at the Honda Classic last week, opened with a four-over 76 Thursday and his chances of defending the title looked slim.
They improved in the second round where high winds caused carnage on the 7,400 yard course, which has been toughened up by designer Gil Hanse.
A total of 113 balls found the water on the Trump National at Doral, but Woods moved up the field with a one-over 73, including a miraculous 91-foot birdie putt.
In lighter winds of around 10 mph (16 kph) the scoring was better Saturday and Woods took full advantage with eight birdies and just two bogeys.
It left him three adrift of fellow American Patrick Reed, who carded a three-under 69 for four-under 212 going into the final round.
Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner, who shot the next best round of 68, were tied second on two-under.
"It was nice to get back in the tournament again," Woods told the official PGA Tour website as he gave his verdict on his performance.
"As far as most complete round, absolutely. I hit the ball a lot better than I did at Honda last Saturday. This was certainly a lot better round."
Woods shot a 65 in the third round of the Honda before suffering his injury problems in the final round.
He believed that putting was the key to his fine scoring in the third round of the WGC.
"I got my speed right," said Woods, who finished with just 25 putts. "And I felt like I hit the ball a little better and left myself in good spots."
He will be seeking his fifth win on one of his favorite courses Sunday and 18th WGC victory of his storied career.
Others did not fare so well in the third round, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy slipping off the pace with a three-over 75 after being well-placed at the start of the round.
Australia's Adam Scott, who could have displaced Woods as the world's top ranked golfer, was on four-over after a level par 72.