Padraig Harrington single putted an amazing 13 times to keep Tiger Woods in his sights in Japan.
The Dubliner had just 25 putts in a three under par 67 to tie with hat-trick chasing Woods after the first round of the $1.7 million Dunlop Phoenix Tournament.
'Japanese Cowboy' Shingo Katayama scorched round in 65 to lead by one from Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano on five under.
But Harrington is still in with a shout of his first Japanese win after completing a scrambling performance with back to back birdies at Phoenix Country Club.
The Dubliner, 35, was wayward off the tee but still managed six birdies and just three bogeys.
He beamed: "The driver wasn't too good and I had to chip out probably four times. This course is a good test of golf. I was happy to finish with two birdies."
Woods made five birdies to finish in a five-way tie for third with Harrington and a trio of Japanese players.
And the world No 1 even had to apologise to Katayama after almost hitting him with a drive while the Japanese player lined up a putt on the driveable 334-yard 13th hole.
Woods grinned: "I didn't see the (warning) flags out on the fairway. So I hit. I thought they were off the green - and they weren't. I apologised when I got up there."
Sporting his trademark cowboy hat, Katayama had just 23 putts and hopes to regain a title he last won in 2000.
He said: "It doesn't matter if Tiger is playing or not - it's all the same to me.
"It's a wide open tournament, so I have to just try to keep the momentum going."
England's Ian Poulter 70, Justin Rose 73 and David Howell 77 have work to do to get back in touch with the leaders.