After going more than two years without winning on the PGA Tour while trying to patch his personal life back together, Woods finally broke through at Bay Hill with a five-shot victory over Graeme McDowell.
Woods added a few electric moments to his personal highlight reel on Saturday.
"I'm within reach if I shoot a really, really low round tomorrow", said Woods, who ended his round with another birdie on the 18th, one of six he made on the day to go along with three bogeys. He found the front bunker on the par-3 17th, hit out to 15 feet and made that one, and then saved par from the bunker left of the 18th green down the slope toward the green, holing a 5-foot putt.
But the 36-hole leaders could not expand their edge, allowing Rose (67, 206), McIlroy (67, 207) and Woods (69, 209) among others to charge into a Sunday showdown, 12 rivals in all within five strokes of Stenson at the Orlando layout.
Woods bogeyed the first after hooking his tee shot into the trees and had a superb short game to thank for saving par on the second and third, before a wild tee shot on the fourth fortunately hit the out-of-bounds fence and stayed in play.
"A lot of people are excited about how Tiger's starting to show signs in the right direction, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun over the next two days", Day said. "For a long time when I did kind of get out here a little bit, he was never here and it was a sore disappointment to have him not be here".
McIlroy shot weekend rounds of 65 and 69 past year to finish in a tie for fourth, two behind victor Marc Leishman.
McIlroy, meanwhile, has gone 26 tournaments since his last victory at the Tour Championship in 2016 to win the FedEx Cup. He has a chance to end his drought, which is all he wanted.
"I'm gonna have to shoot a low one tomorrow, and probably get a little bit of help", Woods said after his round. "I was definitely more nervous today".
Stenson opened with a 13-foot birdie putt and answered a bogey at eight with a 30-foot birdie putt at nine. That's his longest such stretch in five years.
"Henrik has played great", McIlroy said. "I lived in a nice climate for too many years". "Some went in, some didn't".