Rory McIlroy carded his first bogey free round of 2016 to take a three shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami.
The four-time Major Champion trailed Adam Scott by two shots overnight but needed only five holes to pass the Australian after birdieing the first and fifth holes, with Scott dropping a shot on the fourth.
McIlroy, who switched to a crosshanded putting grip at the start of the week, added further birdies on the eighth and tenth holes in a four under par round of 68 to move to 12 under par at Trump National Doral. The Northern Irishman now has the chance to capture his third World Golf Championship title to add to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational he won in 2014 and the WGC-Cadillac Match Play title he claimed last year.
Scott signed for a round of 73 to drop back to nine under par, and he is joined in a share of second place by defending champion Dustin Johnson, who followed his second round of 64 with a 71.
England’s Danny Willett bounced back from a testing front nine, which included a double bogey six on the third hole and a bogey on the seventh, to post a level par round of 72, despite also dropping a shot on the last. He will start the final round five shots adrift of McIlroy on seven under par in a share of fourth position with Americans Phil Mickelson (70) and Bubba Watson (71).
Spanish pair Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Sergio Garcia returned matching rounds of 67 to share seventh place on five under par, alongside India’s Anirban Lahiri, who signed for a round of 71.
For the full report click here
Key player quotes
“That’s my first bogey-free round of the year and to do it in a round like this is very pleasing. I’ve been saying all week that I’ve been making the birdies and I’ve been hitting the good shots, I’ve just been making too many mistakes.
“To play the last 36 holes on a golf course like this with just one bogey on the card is really what I wanted to achieve this week. I feel really good about my game. My ball-striking, tee-to-green, my driving, that really hasn’t been an issue this year. That’s been where I wanted it to be. But my scrambling and my putting have needed work. I feel like the practice that I’ve put in over the last few weeks is really starting to pay off. Just look at some of the saves I had out there today and some of the big par putts – those were the things that were missing over the past three or four tournaments. And to be able to correct that and go out and play in a final group on a Saturday in a golf tournament like this, on a golf course like this, and play bogey-free, it gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
“It was not the best start in the world. It was a little bit of a scrappy day but I’m five back. It was just a bit of a shame to drop one on the last. I’m seven under par going into tomorrow, so it’s all to play for.
“Today was pretty tricky. Rory’s score out there, is a very, very good score today. It depends how they set the golf course up and what the weather does, but I think it’s Rory’s to lose really. I’m going to have to go out there and play clever and play aggressive when I can, and hopefully I can knock a few birdies off and post a good number.”