Tiger Woods believes greater consistency with his putting has been crucial to getting in position for a first win since 2013.

Woods made six birdies on his first seven holes during the third round of the Tour Championship before carding a five-under 65. The 14-time major champion moved to 12 under, holding a three-shot lead to be on track for a first victory since August 2013.

Woods said being more consistent with his putter was behind his fine showing at East Lake so far. "I've been hitting the golf ball pretty well, and I've been streaky with my putter. I've had hot days. I've had hot stretches," he said on Saturday.

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"But I haven't been consistent day in and day out. This week I have been consistent.

"My speed has been good. I'm seeing the arc of the putts, and the best part is that I'm releasing that toe, and that toe feels like it's hooking every time. It's a great feeling.

"I feel great when I've got a lot of release in my hands."

Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose appear the only real challengers to Woods, the pair tied for second at nine under.

Woods, 42, is looking forward to playing alongside McIlroy in the final group on Sunday. "It's going to be fun. We haven't done that that much of late because I've not been there. He has been there, and he's won a bunch of tournaments," he said.

"So it's nice for us to go back out and play against one another, be in the mix.

"There was a stretch there in one of the early starts of the play-offs when I think we had each other in the first three events of the play-offs. It seemed like we just couldn't shake one another. It was in the old format where the points didn't really change much.

"We're in much better shape this time."