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Rory McIlroy maintains Honda Classic lead as Tiger barely makes cut
Question of the Day
But the focus is clearly on McIlroy, who each week looks to be getting better.
“This year is obviously a lot different,” McIlroy said. “Got off to a good start. I’m confident. I’m playing well. This is the second straight tournament I’ve opened with a 63, so if I can keep building on these good starts, then hopefully I can start converting.”
After a 63 in Dubai, he said he was pressing too much in the final round and wound up in a tie for ninth.
Friday was another step in the right direction, despite two errant tee shots on the 11th and 12th holes that led to bogeys. His round changed with a tee shot into 6 feet on the 16th hole for a birdie, and then a 12-foot birdie on the 18th to wrap up his front nine and earn back the two shots he had dropped.
After a 45-foot birdie attempt on the second hole rimmed all the way around and out of the cup, Boy Wonder took off. He two-putted the par-5 third. He hit a wedge into 4 feet on the next hole. He rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt down the hill at the par-5 fifth. Then, after a tough par save on the sixth, he sank another 30-foot birdie putt that McIlroy made look routine.
The gallery is kept 100 yards from the green, so the only applause came from a few marshals. It sounded like a tap-in for par. McIlroy reacted that way, too.
“Watching Rory play is amazing when he’s swinging like this,” Scott said after his own great recovery.
The Masters champ put shots in the water on the 16th and 17th holes, both times making double bogey, and it looked as though his return to golf after a six-week break would be a short one. But the Australian ran off four birdies on the front nine for a 70.
It will take a lot more to catch McIlroy, who has taken only 49 putts through two rounds.
“That’s probably the lowest putting total after 36 I’ve probably had, maybe in my career,” he said. “So it’s obviously going in the right direction.”
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