Jason Day and Jim Furyk are in a tie for the lead going into the final day at The Barclays in New Jersey.
In the first event of the four tournament FedEx Cup, Day shot a three-under 68 while Furyk carded a 69 to leave them both on nine-under for the tournament.
Day had an inconsistent round which consisted of seven birdies at 2, 3, 6, 10, 15, 16 and 18 but also two bogeys and a double bogey seven at the par five 13th.
Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play earlier this year and believes his birdies on 16 and 18 will give him confidence to post a good score on the final day.
"Obviously to have a double bogey and a bogey on the par fives, which are the holes that you want to try and capitalise on, is very disappointing, a little frustrating. But to birdie 16 and 18 was a good confidence booster going into tomorrow's round," said Day.
Furyk had a steady round which was bogey free including birdies on 13 and 16 and a brilliant par save on the final hole to keep him at the top of the standings.
But a tight leader board means the two players will be looking over their shoulders at the group of golfers closely behind them.
Hunter Mahan is one shot behind after matching Day's round of 68 with seven players two shots behind the leaders on seven-under par.
Rory McIlroy was unable to pick up where he left off after an impressive second day as he recorded a one-under par 70. The 25-year old is looking for a fourth consecutive victory but will start the final day five shots off the pace.
The Northern Irishman, who has won two majors and a WGC event in his last three events, starting well with birdies at the first and the fifth. But bogeys on holes nine and 11 brought him back to level par for the day.
A birdie on the 16th saw him finish on one-under par for the day and admitted that his putting let him down during day three.
He tweeted: "Just couldn't get it going on the greens at all today... New day tomorrow and not as far back as I thought I'd be at the end of the day!"
Justin Rose looked to put himself into contention after a magnificent tee-shot on the par four fifth hole almost dropped in. The ball finished one foot away from the hole which allowed him to tap in for an eagle before birdieing the next hole to reach seven-under.
Bogeys on holes 7, 9 and 12 saw him drop off the pace but he gained another shot on 14 which saw him card a second consecutive round of 70 to leave him at five-under going into the final day.
Rose feels that he still has a slim chance of winning the event if he can post a good score on Sunday.
"I guess I'm not the only one making mistakes out there. If I get it going low and post a number, anything's possible."
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