Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

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.
  • 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

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(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.

How Dubai attracted the world's greatest golfers
Bringing golf's biggest prizes to Latin America
Henrik Stenson's $20 million year

"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'

Part of complete coverage on
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.
Bubba Watson is the Masters king, but can he win a major away from Augusta? Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue has the lowdown.
updated 10:12 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer won his first major at Augusta, played there with the U.S. President and made a record 50 consecutive Masters appearances.
updated 8:02 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
He is remembered for designing one of the world's most famous golf courses, but the man behind Augusta died pleading to be paid.
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Take a trip around Augusta. From Eisenhower's toppled tree to the fiendishly-difficult Amen Corner, the Masters' home venue has it all.