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March 10 2012

9:00 PM

McIlroy has near-magical day

Interview: Rory Mcilroy

Following his third-round 65, Rory McIlroy talks about his play in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship with Tom Werme from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

DORAL, Fla. -- Rory McIlroy never thought he’d be standing in front of the microphone Saturday saying he was disappointed with a 65, but he was.

You can’t blame him, not after McIlroy played his first 10 holes in 8 under with a half-dozen birdies and an eagle that put briefly put him within a stroke of the lead. And certainly not after the way everyone else seemed to be lighting up TPC Blue Monster at Doral.

McIlroy began the day 10 shots off the lead and in a tie for 28th. By the middle of his round he was in second after turning in 30 and adding an eagle on the par-5 10th and another birdie on the par-5 12th.

Even McIlroy couldn’t help but think about golf’s magic number of 59.

“Yeah, of course,” McIlroy said. “When I was 9 under through 12, you're thinking four of the last six, and here we go. But, obviously it didn't happen like that.”

Instead, Mcilroy bogeyed the 14th, where he left himself a difficult lie in a fairway bunker, and made another on the 16th.

Still, the round moved McIlroy to at least to the fringe of contention.

“It would have been nice to post something, 61,62 or whatever,” said McIlroy, who also admitted he enjoys difficult golf courses because that gives him the best chance to win.

”It's a resort golf course, and it was a tough test 15 years ago but now it's just got outdated. They definitely need to do something with it, and it's great to see that Trump's taking over the place and he's going to do a good job with it, I’m sure.”

McIlroy certainly did a good job of picking his game up after admitting that he was “flat” in the opening round, which was to be expected after a busy couple of weeks that included six matches at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, a win at The Honda Classic to move to No. 1 in the world, and a quick trip to New York to see girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in an exhibition tennis match at Madison Square Garden.

It didn’t hurt that he was paired with good friend Graeme McDowell, who he had dinner with Friday night, in the third round.

“He's just so impressive to watch,” McDowell said. “I felt like I was shooting 80; I had to keep reminding myself I was 5-under par.”

Added McIlroy: “It's nice to go out there and just play with a friend. You're sort of pretty relaxed and you play, and we both got off to pretty good starts and you sort of feed off one another.”

By the end, however, McIlroy had run out of magic, starting with the 14th.

“Made bogey there, which really stopped my momentum,” McIlroy said. “Just couldn't get it back after that.”

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