Sunday 19 January 2020

McIlroy makes his move

Mark Garrod

Rory McIlroy was a staggering eight under par for his first 10 holes in Miami today - and suddenly in contention for a second successive victory.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman, who went to world number one for the first time by winning the Honda Classic last Sunday, turned in 30 and then rolled home a 17-foot eagle putt at the long 10th in the third round of the Cadillac Championship.

Having reached halfway in the second of this season's world championships in 28th place McIlroy was up into a tie for third spot on 10 under par and only two behind overnight leader Bubba Watson, who had yet to tee off again following his blistering 62 yesterday.

That was only one outside the Doral Blue monster course record, but McIlroy had given himself the chance to match or even better it - and he did so without a birdie on either the two par fives on the outward nine.

His magical run started with a chip-in from nearly 50 feet at the second and after making a 12-footer on the next he made it five birdies in seven holes with a hat-trick from the fifth.

That was courtesy of putts from eight, three and 10 feet and after 'only' a par at the 560-yard eighth after driving into sand he made a 14-foot putt on the short ninth.

McIlroy's putt for eagle at the next was only his 11th of the round and playing partner Graeme McDowell - his close friend and compatriot, of course - could only stand and admire.

Not that he was going on shabbily. McDowell turned in 32 to be six under, six adrift of Watson, who led at halfway by one from England's Justin Rose, himself round in 64 in the second round.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was off and running with a hat-trick of birdies to be up from 15th to sixth, while world number two Luke Donald, who had a chance to regain top spot from McIlroy, birdied the first to stand seven under along with third-ranked Lee Westwood, who after finding the water on the third and double-bogeying had five birdies in a row around the turn and then picked up further strokes at the 14th and 15th.

Press Association Sport Golf Correspondent

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