McIlroy fails to keep momentum and falls short of course record

Rory McIlroy gave another demonstration of his enormous talent in Miami today - but, much to his disappointment, not for the full 18 holes.

Golf’s new world number one charged from 28th place to second by playing the first 12 holes of his Cadillac Championship third round in a staggering nine under par.

But after an eagle and seven birdies McIlroy then bogeyed the 14th and 16th and instead of challenging or even beating the Doral course record of 61 the 22-year-old had to settle for “only” a 65.

Those two late errors also put a serious dent in his hopes of making it two successive victories following the Honda Classic triumph last weekend which took him to top of the rankings for the first time.

Having closed the gap on overnight leader Bubba Watson from 10 shots to one the gap became six when the American left-hander started his round birdie-eagle to reach 15 under par.

McIlroy was back into a tie for sixth and alongside Tiger Woods, second to him at Palm Beach Gardens last weekend after a closing 62.

Woods made his presence felt as well by opening with three straight birdies and then grabbing another on the sixth.

But two holes later the former number one fluffed a chip from the rough into the bunker in front of him and ran up a bogey six.

Luke Donald did even more damage to his card when, from seven under, he found the water on the short fourth and double-bogeyed, but fellow Englishman Justin Rose was maintaining his challenge.

Second overnight and only one behind Watson, with whom he had played the first two rounds as well, Rose two-putted the long first for birdie and added another from nine feet at the third.

Then came a bogey on the fifth, however, and Watson, having three-putted the previous green, had a tap-in birdie there to return to 15 under and three in front.

McIlroy went to the turn despite par fives on the first and eighth.

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 holing from 14 feet on the short ninth he converted a 17-foot eagle chance at the next and chipped to four feet at the 12th to add yet another birdie.

At least he was looking good to keep his number one spot on the rankings.

Donald needed a top four finish to have a chance of reclaiming the position and with eight to play was 17th, while third-ranked Lee Westwood, who had to win, was 26th after a 68. He double-bogeyed the third and 17th, but also had eight birdies, seven of them in eight holes from the eighth.

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