Spieth teed off about an hour before Woods and did not start as spectacularly. He then wasted little time in marking another step of progress on a comeback journey that now has a new chapter of highlights.
It was also his best score in relation to par since 2013, though he has played only sparingly in the ensuing five years while nursing a serious back injury.
"Eventually I was going to put all the pieces together and today for the most part I did that", said Woods.
"I felt more comfortable driving the ball and being a little more aggressive off the tees and getting it down there, squeezing it around some of these corners and consequently I had a lot of nine-irons on down".
Woods shot his lowest round of the year, a seven-under-par 65 in the third round of the Player's Championship at TPC Sawgrass, to get himself into contention on Sunday.
"He had control of his golf ball", said playing partner Mackenzie Hughes. "Obviously his putting kind of speaks for itself, but in that 10- to 20-foot range, he's just so solid, and he rolled in some really nice putts today".
Woods shot a 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday, besting his previous low score on the Stadium Course by a stroke. A 74 in Round 1 left me wondering if he was going to miss his fourth Players Championship weekend in a row, and now here he is contending for a top 10 and possibly the trophy.
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There's no formula or checklist for cobbling together a victory, even when you have 79 to your credit.
His 65 left Woods on an eight-under 208, unlikely to be near the lead by day's end as scoring conditions remained ideal.
Because for as much as Woods can rationalize his ability to successfully sweat two straight cuts on hard tracks, to gradually build up his reps and his feels with middling results against stellar fields, these are the types of performances that can leave a lasting impression on a player's psyche.
After making the cut with nothing to spare on Friday, Woods teed off trailing halfway leader Webb Simpson by 14 strokes on another flawless morning.
"I think I was ideal inside of 12, 15. And I think even more so maybe with putting", Simpson said. "I have been doing this event a long time".
"I know there's a lot of pressure coming down the back nine here, but I think these guys, the way they have set up the golf course today, it's set up for these guys to go low". "I hit a lot of good shots today and it was nice to see a few putts go in".