(Reuters) – Henrik Stenson held a one-stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau with big names Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler pushing into contention and Tiger Woods five shots back after the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Saturday.
Swede Stenson, despite three bogeys, stayed atop the leaderboard at 12-under 204 after shooting a one-under 71 at Bay Hill on a gorgeous Florida afternoon.
“With the chances I had and the way I played, I was looking for a little bit better,” Stenson told local media.
Woods, an eight time winner, birdied the 18th for a 69 and a share of 10th at 209.
“That was a nice one,” the former world number one said of the birdie. “Maybe a low (score) tomorrow will give me a chance to kind of steal one.”
He will need to overcome some of the world’s top players.
While DeChambeau, the second-round co-leader, hung on for second with a 72, McIlroy, Rose and Fowler are all well placed.
Northern Irishman McIlroy, playing his best golf in the United States this year, was strong on a back nine which featured an eagle at the 12th. He finished the day outright third at 10-under after his fourth birdie in a round of 67.
“It was great to get an eagle there, especially after coming off the bogey on 11,” McIlroy said. “It was a big momentum shift.”
He also enjoyed his birdie at 18.
“I didn’t feel like I got a lot of perfect numbers. I was sort of in between clubs a little bit so to persevere and get a good one at the last and put a good swing on it and take advantage was really nice.”
Englishman Rose (67) and American Ryan Moore (69) were a stroke back on nine-under.
“I hit loads of greens, loads of fairways today,” said Rose, who had six birdies and a bogey.
“That was as clean a ball-striking round as I have had all year, so I am excited.”
Fowler was in a group at eight-under. He managed a 70 despite dropping three strokes in a meltdown on the last two holes.
The American, who was once tied for the lead, had a bogey at the 17th and a double-bogey at the last.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom