sport

McIlroy: More of the same

Rory McIlroy is hoping he can combat the difficult conditions at Palm Beach Gardens to seal victory in the Honda Classic.

The 24-year-old carded a 69 in windy weather on Saturday to lead the tournament in Florida by two shots ahead of Sunday's final round.

And he is now hoping another good display over the remaining 18 holes will give him a win in the same even event he controversially withdrew from last year midway through his second round, citing toothache as the reason.

Of his final round, the Northern Irishman said: "I need more of the same. I'm two ahead. This course is all about putting your ball in play, trying not to make mistakes, picking up birdies when you can.

"If you can limit the damage as much as possible I think that's the key, especially when conditions are like this."

Although McIlroy extended his overnight advantage by a stroke, it could easily have been more as he experienced a rather frustrating day on the greens on Saturday.

Despite carding four birdies against three bogeys to reach 12-under, he grazed the cup from distance on more than one occasion, most notably following two excellent efforts at 17 and 18.

However, the world number eight is encouraged by his form, which has improved notably since claiming his first win of the season in December last year.

"If I can just keep hitting the fairways and hitting the greens sooner or later they're going to drop for me," he said.

McIlroy's closest challenger in Florida is American Russell Henley on 10-under, while Scot Russell Knox is a shot further behind.