No one in Masters history was better as Johnson, whose other major victory came at the 2016 US Open, fired a four-under-par 68 to finish on a Masters record 20-under-par 268.
He added tap-in birdies at the par-4 seventh, par-5 13th and par-5 15th to equal the 54-hole mark set in 2015 by Jordan Speith.
There is very little normal about the 84th Masters, starting with the opening tee shots from both the first and the 10th tees. That has never happened on a Thursday morning.
In a video tweeted by The Masters, the Spanish golfer is seen lining up his shot and smacking a laser of shot skimming across the water.
A year ago, Woods bagged the 82nd tour title of his career with victory at the same tournament in Japan, finally tying Sam Snead's all-time mark to cap a 2019 which also included a 15th major title at the Masters.
Xander Schauffele's momentum slowed with the pace of play, and he settled an 8-under 64 for a three-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton.
Tyrrell Hatton posted the lowest competitive round at Shadow Creek, mainly because this is the first PGA Tour event at the prestigious club.
Matthew Wolff, 21, shot 5-under 65 to finish the third round at 5-under 205. Wolff is one round away from becoming the youngest US Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923.
Justin Thomas took a one-shot lead over Patrick Reed, Thomas Pieters of Belgium and Matthew Wolff, the 21-year-old Californian making his US Open debut after the first round.
US Open Golf: Cancelling British Open helped keep major at Winged Foot, course rotation, other talking points
Winged Foot is about 5 miles from one of the early hot spots of the coronavirus. Mike Davis, the CEO, said the USGA was on the verge of taking the US Open to Los Angeles in December as its best chance of playing it in 2020.
With Morikawa, Wolff, Hovland, Champ, Im, and Nieman staking their claim, golf's old guard is set to be challenged for supremacy in days to come.
Li Haotong was bogey-free and posted an 8-under 132, giving him a two-shot lead over a large group that included Brooks Koepka, the two-time defending champion.
Jason Day finished his bogey-free round of 5-under 65 with an approach to 6 feet for birdie on No. 9, the toughest hole on the course at 518 yards.
Rahm was No. 1 in the amateur ranking for a record 60 weeks. Phil Mickelson, whose brother was Rahm's coach at Arizona State, has been predicting greatness since before he won the first of his 10 worldwide titles.
If Rahm can hold on for the win on Sunday he would replace Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings.
Woods last competed on the PGA Tour in mid-February when he laboured through a final-round 77 at the Genesis Invitational where he finished last among players who made the cut.
Coronavirus Outbreak: Nick Watney’s positive test puts PGA Tour's COVID-19 preparations under the radar
Before restarting competitive golf without fans, the PGA Tour seemed to have excellently laid out plans. But then came Watney’s positive test and that raised questions all around and now poses a challenge even bigger than it did before re-starting.
Coronavirus Outbreak: American golfer Nick Watney withdraws from RBC Heritage after testing positive for COVID-19
Watney, who competed last week in Fort Worth, Texas where he missed the cut in the PGA Tour’s return from a three-month hiatus, traveled privately to Hilton Head Island this week.
Ian Poulter holed a 30-foot birdie putt and followed with a 5-iron to 4 feet for a birdie that closed out his round of 7-under 64, giving him a share of the lead Thursday with Mark Hubbard at Hilton Head.
Rory McIlroy’s seven-under-par 63 in the second round at Colonial on Friday suggests he has adjusted to golf without the galleries, though the world No. 1 says the silence that meets his birdie putts took some getting used to.