A day after flirting with the cut, Woods climbed back onto the leaderboard with the second-best round of the day. He shot a 6-under 65 Saturday, leaving him four strokes off the lead at the Western Open.
'I have a chance,' he said. 'That's what I wanted to do is go out there and play well enough where at least I have a chance going into Sunday. Now if I play a very similar round like I did today, you never know.'
Only co-leader Stephen Ames (64) had a better round than Woods. And Woods' could have gone lower if not for three bogeys, one of which came after he drove into a cluster of bushes on the par-5 15th.
Ames and Mark Hensby lead the Western Open at 9-under 204. Geoff Ogilvy is one stroke back, and Stuart Appleby and Steve Lowery are tied for fourth at 7-under. Woods is tied with Jim Furyk and Illinois golf coach Mike Small.
'It's a lot better than where I was starting out,' Woods said. 'It certainly is a big jump, and I'm right back in the tournament.'
Woods has been struggling with his game much of the year. Though he is fourth in scoring average and has three top-5 finishes in his last four starts, he's won once this year. He wasn't a factor at either the Masters or the U.S. Open, and his streak of majors without a title now stands at eight.
The Western Open would seem to be the ideal place to get back on track. He's won it three times, including a wire-to-wire, record-breaking rout last year. But he got off to a rough start here, too, struggling with his iron game. He dropped two strokes below the cut line with five holes to go Friday, and needed back-to-back birdies to extend his PGA Tour-record of consecutive cuts made to 126.
He got off to a sizzling start Saturday, making birdies on the first three holes.
'When you birdie the first three,' he said, 'you're looking pretty good.'
He got in trouble on the par-5 15th, pushing his drive into a cluster of bushes on the right side. After a drop, he landed behind the green, then two-putted for a bogey. He got the stroke back on the 18th, making a 15-footer.
He had an easy birdie on No. 1, putting his second shot within 4 feet. He made another short putt on No. 4, and rolled in a 10-footer on the fifth hole to get to 5-under - putting him one stroke behind the leaders at the time.
But he couldn't stay out of the sand on the next two holes, bogeying both.
He closed with back-to-back birdies, including one of the more impressive shots of the day on the par-5 No. 9. Still 336 yards out, Woods actually flew the green and landed in the thick rough behind it.
He chipped to within eight feet, and made the birdie putt to get back to 5 under and within striking distance.
'The key is to give myself enough looks,' he said. 'I'm putting well. If I give myself 18 looks at it, I like my chances of making some putts.'
And even though he's four strokes behind, the leaders are keeping an eye on him.
'Any time Tiger is four back,' Hensby said, 'that's nothing.'