-12 P Mickelson (US), B Haas (US) -11 H Mahan (US), B Watson (US) -10 A Kim (US) -9 J Vegas (Ven) Selected others: -7 R Fowler (US) -4 T Woods (US), B Davis (Eng), J Daly (US) -2 J Rose (Eng)
Mickelson's last victory came at the Masters in April
Phil Mickelson fired a four-under-par 68 to move into a third-round tie for the lead with Bill Haas at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Haas saw his overnight four-shot advantage eroded as Mickelson carded five birdies to move to 12 under.
Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson were another shot back after both sank eagles at 18, while rookie Jhonattan Vegas was alone on nine under.
Tiger Woods was eight off the pace after struggling around in 74.
Mickelson will be highly fancied to add to his three Torrey Pines triumphs - the last of which came on the Californian course back in 2001 - after shooting a joint best round-of-the-day with DA Points, who is seven under.
"This course doesn't reward you for taking any risks," said Mickelson.
I hit some good shots out there, unfortunately, I hit way too many bad ones
"I love playing aggressive. I think people want to see birdies and they want to see bogeys. They want to see us attacking holes trying to get it close, but this course penalises risk.
"My more conservative approach into the greens, albeit boring, has led me to be on top of the leaderboard."
And the world number six's prospects of victory were boosted when Haas bogeyed the par-five last from four feet to complete a one-under 71.
Venezuelan Vegas, 26, continued the fine form which helped him win his maiden Tour title at last week's Bob Hope Classic with his third straight 69 of the week.
Rickie Fowler, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, endured a frustrating five-bogey 73 and slipped to seven under, while defending champion Ben Crane was another shot back.
World number three Woods, playing in his first tournament of the year, had played himself into contention after a second-round 69.
But three bogeys in his first five holes on Saturday looked to have put paid to his bid for a first title since the Australian Masters in 2009.
Woods recovered somewhat with birdies on six and nine, however the 14-time major winner laboured on his back nine, dropping another shot on 15 amid eight pars.
"I did not swing it very well," reflected Woods, whose seven wins at Torrey Pines include six regular Tour titles and the 2008 US Open. "I couldn't get anything going on the back nine. That was the goal and I couldn't make it happen."
And he admitted that he needs to improve on his consistency over the course of a tournament before he is victorious again.
"It's always easy to do it at home on the range," added Woods on the PGA website.
"Then you have to do it on the golf course at home, and then once you're able do it there, now you have to do it out here.
"Then once you do it out here, you have to do it in contention. Then once you do it in contention, you have to do it in major championships.
"So it it's a process, a building process. I've been through it before, and I hit some good shots out there, unfortunately, I hit way too many bad ones."
England's Brian Davis, who trailed Haas by just four strokes at the end of the second round, shot a 75 and was on the same four-under total as Woods, with Justin Rose back on two under after a 72.