Padraig Harrington failed to capitalise on a red-hot start in the Target World Challenge at soggy Sherwood Country Club.
Six behind Tiger Woods starting the third round, Harrington came out all guns blazing and picked up three birdies in the first three holes to get to five under par.
But the European No 1 had to settle for an two under par 70 after another another streaky display in his last event of the season.
Bogeys at the fourth, fifth and sixth were caused by some indecisive putting and while he birdied the seventh from just three feet he drove into a hazard at the ninth and made bogey there to turn in level par.
On the back nine he picked up birdies at the par three 12th and 17th holes but was left to rue those early errors as he finished his day seven shots behind leader Tiger Woods on four under par.
Harrington said: "It wasn't easy to come back from the three dropped shots in a row but I didn't make the most of the par fives. I think I'm too far back now but I will still trying just as hard tomorrow."
The tournament host was one clear of US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy on 11 under par with three holes of his round to play.