Rory McIlroy recovered from two consecutive bogeys on the front nine to shoot 1-under-par 69 and take a two-stroke lead over Russell Henley into the final round of the Honda Classic on the Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
McIlroy trying to capture the Honda for the second time in three years and win on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 2012 BMW Championship, built his lead to four strokes with birdies on two of the first three holes.
Then he gave them back with bogeys on the sixth and seventh before carding two birdies and a bogey on the back nine.
“It was a little more difficult today, for sure,” said McIlroy, whose last victory came in the Australian Open In December. “The wind was coming from a little different direction, which made some holes play a little bit easier, but 15, 16 and 17 were as difficult as they get.
“So I think 69 under the conditions was pretty good and it allowed me to keep the lead.”
Henley, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii, posted a second straight 68 that included an eagle when he holed his second shot from 150 yards with a pitching wedge on the 14th hole, and a 48-foot birdie putt from the fringe on No. 17.
Russell Knox of Scotland was three shots back in third after a 68, followed another stroke back by Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, who had a 66.
Stuart Appleby of Australia, who won the 1997 Honda for the first of his nine PGA Tour victories, shot 65 and was five shots back in a tie for fifth with Keegan Bradley, who had a 66, and Luke Donald, who came in at 68.
Tiger Woods, who made the cut on the number at 71-69 — 140, posted a 65 that included seven birdies and moved up 49 spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 17th.