South African legend Ernie Els has moved into contention in the Arnold Palmer Invitational as he makes a late push to qualify for the Masters.

He shot a third-round 67 to move into a share of third with Ian Poulter behind Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods.

Els needs to get back into the world top 50 by Monday, which he can do with a second-place finish, or win either this event or the Shell Houston Open next week to earn a spot at Augusta.

The 42-year-old has not missed the Masters since his first appearance in 1994, says he isn’t stressing about qualifying.

"I haven't had a look (at the rankings) to be honest. I know I've got to almost win or something like that.

"But if I'm in, I'm in and if I'm not, I'm just glad my game is coming around. Whatever happens, I feel like I can have a good year now. I feel like the hard work is starting to pay off," he said.

His last win on the PGA Tour was actually at Bay Hill two years ago, but he has struggled with his putting stroke and subsequently for form since then.

"I've been through the mill, believe me. Almost two years now, I've really been tested with the game. I guess when you get to my age, I had a pretty smooth career. The last 18 months has been really difficult.

"I have to really dig deep just to stay in the game, and now I'm really feeling like I'm coming around again. I feel like my game is coming around and hitting it nicely and starting to see some putts fall. So I've got some hope again."

It’ll be interesting to see how Woods handles the pressure in the final round as he faces his first real chance to end his PGA Tour win drought since September 2009.

He shot a third-round 71 to take a one shot lead over Graeme McDowell into the final round.

"As a whole I played well," Woods said. "I hit a lot of good shots and was just very consistent."