Honda Classic: Rory McIlroy will take two-shot lead into final round at PGA National
Last Updated: 02/03/14 5:34pm
Rory McIlroy: Will take a two-shot lead into the final round in Florida
Long-time leader Rory McIlroy will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Honda Classic following a 69 at PGA National on Saturday.
Whilst McIlroy extended his overnight advantage by a stroke, it could easily have been more as he experienced a rather frustrating day on the greens.
Despite carding four birdies against three bogeys to reach 12-under, the Northern Irishman grazed the cup from distance on more than one occasion, most notably following two excellent efforts at 17 and 18.
He finished the day two clear of nearest challenger Russell Henley (68) who came to life on the back nine with three birdies and an eagle.
Scotland's Russell Knox also posted a 68 to move into third on his own at nine-under, while Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas shot a fine 66 to claim sole possession of fourth at eight-under.
England's Luke Donald (68) is part of a four-man group at seven-under alongside American duo Keegan Bradley and Ryan Palmer and Stuart Appleby of Australia.
Meanwhile, world No 1 Tiger Woods produced the joint-best round of the day with a 65 to move through the field and into a tie for 17th at five-under.
Woods makes a move
Third round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-12 R McIlroy (NIrl)
-10 R Henley
-9 R Knox (Sco)
-8 J Vegas (Ven)
Click here for collated scores
But Woods remains seven adrift of McIlroy despite his excellent efforts and looks to have left himself too much to do in Sunday's final round.
McIlroy made a fine start with birdies at one and three on 'moving day', but hit the turn at level-par for his round after back-to-back bogeys at the sixth and then the par-three seventh.
A wonderful approach at 12 yielded another birdie, but he would give that gain back following a short missed putt for par at 14, before stroking in his final birdie of the day at 16.
For his part, Henley looked set for a day of frustration as he followed a bogey at the second with nine straight pars, missing several presentable birdie opportunities.
But his luck changed at 12 as he found the cup from 12 feet for birdie and he then conjured an incredible eagle at 14 as he holed his second from the fairway.
Although he would bogey the next, he then rattled in a huge birdie putt from the fringe at the par-three 17th to keep on McIlroy's coat tails and will partner the two-time major champion in the final group on Sunday.