Skip to main content

McIlroy hunts leaders as world No.1 bid gathers pace

updated 6:33 PM EST, Fri March 2, 2012
Rory McIlroy is well-placed to become world No.1 by the finish of the Honda Classic.
Rory McIlroy is well-placed to become world No.1 by the finish of the Honda Classic.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justin Rose and Tom Gillis lead at halfway stage in Honda Classic
  • Pair are on eight-under 132 at PGA National in Florida
  • World No.2 Rory McIlroy one shot back after a three-under 67
  • Tiger Woods makes the cut after two straight birdies to finish

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy trailed leaders Justin Rose and Tom Gillis by just a shot as he stepped up his bid to become world No.1 at the halfway stage of the Honda Classic Friday.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland birdied the par-five 18th at PGA National in Florida to close with a second round three-under-par 67 for seven-under 133.

American journeyman Gillis and England's Rose shared top spot on 132 going into the third round.

Rose, who shot a second straight 66, looked set to lead outright but successive bogeys on his back nine saw him fall back into a share with Gillis, who carded a superb 64.

McIlroy kept up his dogged pursuit, carding three birdies against a single bogey on the tough back nine, to stay firmly in contention for the win he needs to guarantee he will leapfrog Luke Donald at the top of the rankings.

"I felt like I played another really solid round," he told gathered reporters.

"I had a couple of chances on the front nine and didn't take them, but I was

just trying to stay as patient as possible."

Round of the day came from American rookie Brian Harman, a remarkable course record 61, shattering the previous best by three shots.

I got it going, lost it, got it going, lost it and got it going
Tiger Woods

Harman had the chance to break the magical 60 barrier with his bunker shot on the long 18th. The eagle attempt ended five-feet from the cup and he missed the short birdie putt for a 60.

It left him on six-under par overall after a first day 73.

Earlier, Tiger Woods salvaged his round and made sure he made the cut with back to back birdies on his final two holes, the eighth and ninth, to finish with a two-under 68.

Woods is on one-under 139 after two rounds and still unable to build on sporadic strong play.

"It was a grind," Woods told the official PGA Tour website.

"I got it going, lost it, got it going, lost it and got it going.

"I didn't have it, but I scored and that's something I can take out of it."

Playing partner and world No.3 Lee Westwood tied Woods on 139 after a second round 69.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
updated 7:59 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
updated 11:36 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
updated 10:48 PM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT