Winless since the 2012 Masters, the long-hitting left-hander also scrambled to save par on the par-5 15th, holing a 15-footer after losing another drive to the right.
His 7-foot birdie try on 16 stopped on the right edge, but he holed a curling 12-footer for birdie on the short par-4 17th after another drive went far right. He saved par on the par-4 18th after driving over the water into the left rough.
“I held it together, stayed focused on what I was trying to do, made nice up-and-down on 17 for birdie,” Watson said. “Tough lie on 18 and somehow two-putted to have a little lead. … Luckily, nobody went crazy on me.”
He was upset about the pace of play.
“The back nine just got real slow and sluggish and I just kind of lost focus a little bit on my tee shots,” Watson said. “We need to be under five hours tomorrow. I want to watch the Super Bowl.”
The tournament set an attendance record for the fourth straight day, breaking the day mark of 179,002 from the third round last year. Since Monday, an estimated 502,776 people have attended the event. The record of 538,356 was set in 2008.
“It was packed out there,” said Scottsdale resident Kevin Stadler, second after a 67. “It’s something you only experience once a year.”
Ryan Moore had a 64 to join Harris English (69) and Hideki Matsuyama (66) at 12 under, and Jones (72) was 11 under along with Brendan Steele (62) and 2010 winner Hunter Mahan (65). Moore played the back nine in 6-under 30.
“Made a couple bonus putts,” Moore said.
Steele had the best round of the week.
“I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could,” Steele said. “It’s kind of the luxury when you make the cut by a shot. You have more to gain and not much to lose.”