Rory McIlroy’s third round 73 in the Honda Classic had everything you would come to expect in following the late, great Seve Ballesteros around a golf course.
McIlroy’s round included a balancing act right on the very edge of the water guarded fifth green.
The four-time Major winner was then forced onto his knees deep inside over-hanging branches at the sixth hole of the PGA National course in playing a shot that led to a double bogey.
But then, and very much like Seve, there was some brilliance as evident three birdies over his inward half
Sadly though all the harm on day three of the event was done in a five-hole stretch from the fourth to eighth holes with McIlroy sandwiching a sixth hole double-bogey in between two bogeys either side of the hole.
McIlroy had started his round at four-over but standing on the ninth he was 10-over par for just 44 holes.
Finally, there was a first birdie in holing eight-footer at the ninth.
McIlroy made it two birdies in succession in holing a 10-footer at the par-4 10th hole and while he dropped a seventh shot of the round at the 11th, birdies also followed at the 14th and where he ‘stiffed’ his approach shot to just two-feet, while he also birdied the par-3 17th in rolling in an 11-footer.
McIlroy left the course sharing 64th place and by the end of play he was lying T62nd.
And while there has been so much discussion on McIlroy’s problems with the shortest club in his bag on this occasion it was the longest club given him heartache.
In fact, McIlroy managed to hit just six of 14 fairways and not hitting a first fairway to the eighth hole.
“I just needed to hit fairways and greens,” he said.
“I hit the first green, I hit the third green, and they were really the only greens I hit before the ninth hole, so I just needed to hit some greens, hit some fairways, hit some solid shots and focus on that.
“I played a really good final 10 holes. I hit a really good tee shot on four but made bogey from there because it ran through the fairway.
“Then at 5, just not the right club, hit a flier at 6 and it went back in that bush.
“I was in between clubs at 7 trying to hit a high cut with an 8 iron and just sort of tugged it left. It was just four or five hole stretch where it wasn’t good, but apart from that I played the last 10 holes in 3 under par and hit some good shots coming in.
“I just wish I could get those holes back.”
Shane Lowry fared no better with just one birdie but also four bogeys and a 15th hole double-bogey in his round of 75.
Lowry, who recorded earlier rounds of 71 and 74, heads to the final round in a four-way tie for last place at 10-over par.
Luke List leads by one heading in to the final round after carding a moving day 66 to lie on -7 one shot clear of Justin Thomas. Tiger Woods shot the lowest score since his comeback carding a Saturday 69, and it could have been even lower.
Woods continued to display the controlled ball-striking that he has all week at a breezy PGA National, hitting a season-best nine fairways and 13 greens in Saturday’s 1-under 69. He’s even-par through three rounds, close enough that the leaders may have to keep one eye on him in the final round.
“I’ve got a shot,” said Woods, who’s seven shots back.
Round 3 Coverage