Winless since claiming the 2010 World Challenge in a playoff over host Tiger Woods, McDowell shot a 4-under 68 and stands at 13-under 203 after 54 holes, two shots clear of Keegan Bradley. Using a belly putter that is now under fire after the proposed ban on anchoring putters was announced this week, Bradley carded a 5-under 67 to match Bubba Watson for low round of the day honors.
Entering the week as defending champion, Woods will begin the final round in third place at 8-under 208, five shots behind McDowell. His round began slowly, but three birdies across his final five holes allowed the tournament host to move up the leaderboard Saturday afternoon at Sherwood Country Club.
'It's just one of those things where I've missed a lot of opportunities,' Woods said after the round. 'Consequently I'm not in double digits under par and not closer to the lead.'
Playing in the final group Saturday, Bo Van Pelt birdied the home hole to shoot a 2-under 70 and grab a share of third place alongside Woods. Jim Furyk, a winner here in 2009, sits alone in fifth place at 7 under, six shots off the pace, while Rickie Fowler is one shot further back despite two double bogeys and a triple bogey through 54 holes.
Overall, players continued to take advantage of a soft course that again employed lift, clean and place conditions, as Jason Day is now the only player in the 18-man field over par entering the final round.