AUGUSTA, Georgia --Tiger Woods had all the familiar body language from his glory days.
Fist pumps. A swag of the shoulders. The shuffle step to collect the ball out of the cup.
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Woods started Sunday a daunting seven shots off the lead, but he wiped out that deficit before he went to the back side at Augusta National. He made four birdies, a 10-footer for eagle at No. 8 and a brilliant up-and-down out of the bunker to save par at the ninth after driving onto the pine straw.
Far beyond the golf course, the nation was caught up in Tigermania, bombarding Twitter with messages about Woods' comeback.
"Tiger is back!!!" wrote receiver A.J. Green, expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft.
"Happy Sunday Everyone! Looks like my guy (at)TigerWoods has got that killer instinct back! Watch out golf world," New York Jets receiver Braylon Edwards said.
"About to watch the run-in to the Masters.. come on Tiger!!!" U.S. footballer Stuart Holden wrote from England, where he plays in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old McIlroy had a four-shot lead on the field coming into the round, but he got off to a very shaky start. Suddenly showing his youth, he missed three par putts no longer than 5 feet, and was fortunate to save par at the par-5 second hole after landing in two different bunkers.
Schwartzel, one of four players tied for second at the start of the round, made an early charge, as well. He chipped in for birdie out of the second cut at No. 1, then holed out a wedge from the fairway for an eagle at the third, the shortest par-4 on the course.
McIlroy finally steadied himself a bit, reclaiming the lead with a birdie on the seventh to get back to 11 under. But there were seven players within three strokes of the lead in what shaped up to be a memorable back nine at Augusta.