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Rory McIlroy two shots clear at Honda Classic heading into final round

updated 8:09 PM EST, Sat March 1, 2014
Rory McIlroy remains top of the tree after the third round of the Honda Classic in Florida.
Rory McIlroy remains top of the tree after the third round of the Honda Classic in Florida.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy will take a two-shot lead into final round of Honda Classic
  • Tiger Woods shoots his best round of the year so far to move up 49 places
  • America's Russell Henley fires 68 to finish on 10-under -- two behind McIlroy

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(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy remains on course to repeat his 2012 triumph at the Honda Classic after finishing a third day on the top of the leaderboard at the PGA National in Florida.

After opening with rounds of 63 and 66, the Northern Irishman produced a steady one-under par round of 69 on Saturday to finish two shots clear on 12-under par after 54 holes.

The world no. 8, who endured a miserable run of form for most of 2013, got off to a flier with birdies at the first and third holes before relinquishing the advantage with back-to-back bogeys at six and seven.

Another birdie at the par four 12th was cancelled out two holes later before a birdie three at the 16th saw McIlroy slide back under par and close out without any further alarms.

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"It's all about not making mistakes," McIlroy said following his round.

"It's about limiting the damage. You're going to make a few bogeys out there. If you limit those, hit fairways and greens, that's what I'm going to try to do tomorrow," he added.

"There's still 18 holes to go. But I'm feeling comfortable with where I am."

The 24-year-old's closest chaser is America's Russell Henley who shot a third round 68 to leave him on 10-under par.

Scotland's Russell Knox is a shot further back after also shooting a 68 on Saturday.

Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas is fourth following a third round 66 while Keegan Bradley and Ryan Palmer from the U.S., Australia's Stuart Appleby and England's Luke Donald are all within striking distance on seven-under par.

Tiger Woods is two shots further back on five under after posting a 65.

The world no. 1 shot not only his best round of the week, but of 2014 to leap 49 places up the leaderboard to tie for 17th.

"I didn't hit the ball very well (Friday); just kind of grinded it out. Today I struck the ball well and made some putts" Woods said, PGATour reported.

Woods, who opened with a one-over 71, was confident that his form which has been patchy at best this year was going to improve.

"It's going to turn around. We are all going to have hot spells and we're going to have cold spells, especially the longer we stay out here. I've had situations where it just seems like no matter what you do, you play, nothing really goes your way," Woods said.

Woods might be seven shots off McIlroy's lead but will be buoyed by the memory of his final round performance two seasons ago where he shot a blistering 62.

It wasn't quite enough to dislodge McIlroy who won by two after posting a final round 69. But if both players repeat those scores on Sunday then we could be heading for a playoff.

Read more: Day beats 'miracle man'

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