March 3 2012
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Twice before on the PGA TOUR Rory McIlroy has led after 54 holes. The last time came at the U.S. Open and you saw how that turned out.
Thanks to a 4-under 66 Saturday at a windswept PGA National, McIlroy holds a two-shot advantage over Harris English and Tom Gillis entering the final round of The Honda Classic, where he seems poised to win for the first time since the historic performance at Congressional Country Club nine months ago.
“I have to just try and focus on what I've been trying to do all week, which is hit fairways and hit greens,” McIlroy said. “Really stay in the present, stay in the moment and not think about everything else that could happen.”
Should McIlroy win, he would moved to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Gillis, meanwhile, is just looking for victory No. 1 in a career that has spanned more than two decades for the 43-year-old.
A native of nearby Jupiter, Fla., Gillis shot a 1-under 69 Saturday. He’s made just two bogeys all week.
English has won before. His lone victory came on the Nationwide Tour last year when he was an amateur and still in school at the University of Georgia. After a 66 Saturday, he has a chance to cash his first winners’ check.
Three others, including Justin Rose and Brian Harman, who torched the course record with a 61 in the second round, are two more shots back at 7 under but certainly not out of it.
If Tiger Woods, who is playing in The Honda Classic for the first time in his professional career, is going to win he’s going to need something spectacular. Woods is seven shots back and tied for 18th after a 69 on Saturday.