Rory McIlroy moves three clear at the WGC-Cadillac Championship
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 07/03/16 12:34am
Rory McIlroy continued his new-found form with the putter to open up a three-shot lead going in to the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
McIlroy got off to a fast start at Trump National to overhaul midway pacesetter Adam Scott, setting up a Sunday shoot-out with defending champion Dustin Johnson by carding a bogey-free 68.
Having made the switch earlier in the week to the "crosshanded" putting method he last used in 2008, McIlroy once again looked assured with the flat stick on his way to posting four birdies.
After needing 33 putts during his opening round 71, McIlroy took just 25 blows during a much-improved 65 on Friday and carried on where he left off with a bright start to his third round.
The world No 3 opened with a four-foot gain at the first and moved in a share of the lead when Scott missed the fourth green and two-putted from 12 feet, before McIlroy took the outright advantage by holing the next from seven feet.
Despite going from bunker to bunker off the eighth tee, McIlroy was able to pitch to three feet and pick up another shot, as Scott saw his eagle putt brush the right edge of the cup.
McIlroy kicked off his back nine by sinking a 15-foot putt to double his lead, as Scott failed to save par from eight feet at the 13th to extend the gap to three strokes.
Although Scott immediately reduced the deficit with a stunning approach from the bunker to 10 feet at the next, the Australian saw defending champion Johnson move alongside him with gains at 12 and 16.
Johnson briefly claimed outright second when Scott underhit his pitch and run at the 17th and dropped a shot, but finished with a one-under 71 after two-putting the last from four feet.
As Scott's birdie chance at the last ran inches past of the cup, McIlroy continued his run of clutch par saves along the closing stretch to complete his blemish-free day.
Danny Willett had made a move up the leaderboard with four gains in a six-hole stretch around the turn, only to bogey the 18th and leave him tied-fourth on seven under alongside Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
I think it's Rory's to lose, really," Willett said. "We're going to have to go out there and play clever and play aggressive when we can, and hopefully we can knock a few birdies off and post a good number."
Spanish duo Sergio Garcia and Rafael Cabrera-Bello had set the early clubhouse targets with matching 67s, as Rickie Fowler sits a further stroke back on four under despite running up a quadruple-bogey eight early in his round.
Another up-and-down day for world No 1 Jordan Spieth saw him close a one-over 73, as PGA Champion Jason Day drained a 65-foot putt to save par at the last and card a third-round 71.
Watch the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Coverage begins on Sunday from 5pm.