Woods overcame some crooked shots with a few clutch putts, none bigger than a 35-footer for par on the 14th hole when Jim Furyk was poised to turn the final golf tournament of the year into a two-man race.
Four holes later, it was a one-man show.
Furyk dumped his next tee shot into the water to take double bogey, Woods finished off his round with a birdie, and the tournament host and defending champion found himself six shots clear going into the final round.
'Those two holes there were the difference,' said Woods, who was at 18-under 198.
Furyk didn't play poorly except for his 6-iron on the 15th that he said 'barely hit the grooves.' He wound up with a 69 and earned another date with Woods in the final round Sunday.
Masters champion Zach Johnson played bogey-free but only had three birdies on another glorious day in the Santa Monica mountains, with his 69 leaving him seven shots behind.
Johnson was asked how far behind was too far.
'What's Tiger at -- 18 under? What am I, 11? That's too far,' he said. 'Part of it is who's in front of you. It shouldn't be part of it, but when it comes to one individual, that's part of it.'
Woods has never lost a tournament in 11 years as a pro when leading by more than one shot going into the last round. And he already is a three-time champion at Sherwood Country Club.
Woods was asked what advice he would give someone trying to make up a six-shot deficit.
'Make a lot of birdies,' he said, smiling.