Steady Rory builds on lead

US Tour

Rory McIlroy will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Honda Classic after carding a one-under-par 69 on Saturday.

The world number eight has been setting the pace at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida since posting an opening round of 63 and he followed it up with another impressive 66 on Friday and a steady 69 in round three.

The two-time major winner, who started with a one-shot lead, carded two birdies in his first three holes, but dropped shots at the sixth and seventh to move back to level for the day. He picked up two more birdies and a bogey on the back nine to move two shots clear of Russell Henley with Russell Knox a further shot back.

“I feel comfortable with where my game is,” McIlroy said. “I thought 69 in the conditions I had today was a pretty good score.”

He added: “It was a little more difficult for sure. The wind was coming from a slightly different direction which made the last few holes play quite tough. That’s about as tough as they play.

“You can’t get away with anything out here. You have to be in control of your golf ball and for the most part I have been this week.”

The highlight of Henley’s round, which included two bogeys and three birdies, was an eagle at the par-four 14th while Knox had four birdies and two bogeys in his round.

“I couldn’t have hit it any better,” Henley said. “It was a pretty cool feeling.”

Jhonattan Vegas is alone in third at eight under par while Luke Donald is tied for fourth with Stuart Appleby and Keegan Bradley after carding his second consecutive 68.

World number one Tiger Woods followed up his 69 on Friday with an excellent five-under-par 65 to move seven shots off the pace. The American carded seven birdies, but also dropped shots at the fourth and ninth holes.

“Yesterday I didn’t hit the ball very well,” he said after his round.

Brendon de Jonge, who started the day in second place, dropped down the leaderboard to a share of 24th after an unforgettable 76 that included two double-bogeys and five bogeys.

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