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March 3 2012

12:15 AM

McIlroy poised heading into weekend

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Rory McIlroy enters the weekend at PGA National just one stroke off the lead.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- There are still 36 holes to play at The Honda Classic, but Rory McIlroy is in position to make a run at his first PGA TOUR victory since the U.S. Open last June.

McIlroy shot a near-flawless 67 Friday afternoon to enter the weekend 7 under and one shot off the lead.

While McIlroy has never had particularly great success at PGA National -- he made three straight double bogeys on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 a year ago -- his star clearly continues to rise.

“I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable with my game,” said McIlroy, who birdied three of his final five holes coming in.

This week he’s played the infamous Bear Trap in a combined 2 under, and he has just two bogeys in total on his scorecard.

He certainly caught the attention of some fans, too.

A pair of 20-somethings in the gallery were wearing wigs to match McIlroy’s hair with t-shirts that read “Kiss me, I’m Rory.” On the back was a prediction of next week’s Official World Golf Rankings. With a victory here, McIlroy could move to No. 1.

“It was very funny,” McIlroy said.

His play, on the other hand, has been no laughing matter. It’s hard to find anyone in the world whose game is better at the moment.

McIlroy is coming off a runner-up finish at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and in December won in Hong Kong.

Still, McIlroy knows there’s a long way to go before he can ascend to the top of the game.

”I just need to keep doing the same things, try to drive the ball in the fairway and give myself loads of opportunities and try and take a few, because you don't need to make tons of birdies out here,” McIlroy said. “You just have to keep the big numbers off your card.”

If he can, the only number that will matter is 1.

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