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McIlroy Has Two Shot Lead in Honda Golf, Woods Lies Nine Back

March 04, 2012

Rory McIlroy, on the brink of being No. 1 in the world, takes a two-shot lead into today’s final round of the Honda Classic.

McIlroy, the U.S. Open champion, shot a 4-under 66 yesterday to stand 11 under at 199 after three rounds at PGA National Resort and Spa’s Champion Court in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Harris English and Tom Gillis share second place after round three, while Tiger Woods is nine shots off the lead.

McIlroy, 22, of Northern Ireland, would become the second- youngest player behind Woods to hold the No. 1 spot if he wins today.

“Got off to a great start, three under through five, which was just what I wanted to do,” McIlroy told reporters. “Made a couple bogeys on the front nine, which was pretty frustrating. But to play the way I did the back nine and come back at three under was great. I made a couple of really key par saves on 13 and 14, which sort of kept the momentum going. Then to play the last four holes in two under, was very nice.”

Woods shot a 1-under 69 today after going the final 11 holes without a birdie.

“Close to hitting a good one today,” Woods said. “I hit it good. I putted good. Boy, it was really close to being a really low round today.”

English finished with a 66 yesterday, while Gillis had a 69.

“Rory is awesome,” said the 22-year-old English. “I haven’t had a chance to meet him yet, but I’ve definitely watched him play the last couple of years. I think he’s the best player in the world right now, hands down, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. He’s very impressive.”

English will get the chance to meet McIlroy today when he joins the threesome, which includes Gillis, at 10:30 a.m. local time. Starting times have been moved up for the final round because of storms forecast for the area.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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