|RBC Heritage third round leaderboard|
|-13 J Dufner (US); -12 G DeLaet (Can); -11 K Kisner, W Simpson (both US); -10 I Poulter (Eng); -9 L Donald (Eng), W Bryan, W McGirt (both US)|
|Selected others:-8 T Hatton (Eng); -5 R Knox (Sco); -4 A Johnston (Eng), G McDowell (NI); -3 M Laird (Sco), S Lowry (Ire)|
Ian Poulter moved to within three shots of the lead at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina - despite a close encounter with an alligator.
The Englishman shot a third-round 69 to move to 10 under, with American Jason Dufner leading the field on 13 under.
Overnight co-leader Luke Donald of England dropped back after a 72.
Poulter, 41, hit his tee shot into the water on the 10th hole and took a drop on the bank, only to spot an alligator in the shallows nearby.
His playing partner Webb Simpson's caddie eventually chased it away but Poulter would double bogey the hole and bogey the next, before a birdie on the 14th helped him remain in contention.
"I took a couple of dummy swings and he decided to come in and take a closer look," Poulter told Sky Sports.
"I wasn't very comfortable with that. It's a little unnerving. I didn't want to put my club in the water because I didn't want him to take it. One of the other caddies came in and was a bit more aggressive, and he went."
Asked if the incident had affected his play, Poulter said: "No, not at all. My game feels good and I feel confident going into tomorrow."
Poulter is playing on a major medical exemption after foot surgery last year and has this week and one more start to collect the prize money he needs to secure his playing status for the rest of the season.
Despite three bogeys on the front nine, Dufner's two eagles and five birdies helped him to a 65 and moved him to 13 under at Hilton Head.
Canada's Graham DeLaet is second after a 69, one ahead of Kevin Kisner and Simpson.
England's Tyrrell Hatton remains in contention after a three-under 68 saw him move to eight under, a shot behind Donald and five shots adrift of 2013 PGA Championship winner Dufner.
However, Scotland's Russell Knox fell behind as a one-over 72 saw him fall to a tie for 20th place, one shot in front of England's Andrew Johnston and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.