Ottawa Citizen

Mcilroy has sights on win, No. 1 rank

Northern Irishman ahead by two shots in Honda Classic

- SIMON EVANS PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida

• Rory Mcilroy took a big step toward gaining the No. 1 spot in the world rankings on Saturday, taking a two-stroke going into the final round of the Honda Classic.

The Northern Irishman shot a 4-under par 66 in windy conditions on Saturday, recovering from successive bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes to produce three birdies on the back nine with some of his characteri­stically confident golf.

“It was another very solid day out there,” he said. “I’m very happy, obviously, with the position I’m in and I just need to try and keep doing the same things tomorrow.”

Mcilroy, who can take over the top spot from Englishman Luke Donald with a victory in this PGA Tour event, finished with a birdie on the 18th hole, draining a 12-foot putt from the fringe.

The 22-year-old stands at 11-under par for the tournament and has a great chance of getting to the pinnacle of the global rankings for the first time.

“I have to really stay in the present, stay in the moment and not think about everything else that could happen, whether it be going to No. 1 or winning my first tournament (here),” he said. “I’ve just got to go out there and try to put a good number on the board.”

Harris English and Tom Gillis were two strokes behind Mcilroy, while fellow U.S. golfers Keegan Bradley and Brian Harman, tied with England’s Justin Rose.

U.S. star Tiger Woods could only manage a 1-under 69, leaving him nine shots behind Mcilroy.

“I was close to hitting a good one (Saturday),” Woods said. “I hit it good, putted good. Boy, it was really close to being a really low round.”

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