Woods stays ahead as McIlroy impresses

3/10/2013 8:33:00 PM
Rory McIlroy   (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

As World Number One Rory McIlroy was producing his best golf of 2013, nearest challenger Tiger Woods edged towards a seventh WGC - Cadillac Championship title.

Woods, currently second in the rankings, began his final round four shots ahead of Graeme McDowell and quickly found his feet with the putter, sinking a 20 footer for birdie on the second hole.

He picked up another shot on the tricky par three fourth following a glorious iron and saw his advantage extended to five shots over McDowell, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker.

It would eventually come back down to four as a wonderful approach at the eighth took Mickelson to 16 under, yet Woods - despite the odd errant tee shot - had looked incredibly solid through the first seven holes.

While he was a heavy favourite for this tournament, future ones could well prove even more interesting after McIlroy’s timely return to form.

The two time Major Champion was back to his brilliant best today; having eagled the first, he picked up birdies on five, ten, 11, 16 and 17 to equal the week’s best round of 65.

He subsequently finished 10 under overall, with his efforts representing a huge improvement on last week’s disappointment at the Honda Classic, when McIlroy left the course midway through his second round.

He said: “I guess that was what I needed to do this week, because I made plenty of birdies and a couple of eagles and stuff.  It was the bogeys and the others that were killing me. 

“So to play a round out there today with the conditions the way they are, you know, was very pleasing.  

“I think most of you guys know, I probably wear my heart on my sleeve a bit with my golf. If I have a bad round, it's sort of like the end of the world, but if I play a good one, I'm happy again. 

“You know, that's just the way it goes. I was pretty down about my game coming into this week, but a few days like I've played, you know, it does my confidence a world of good.”

McIlroy's effort today, though, could well be bettered by Australian Adam Scott, who - on the back of some remarkable putting - was eight under for the day through 15.

He was 14 under overall, two shots ahead of Spain’s Sergio Garcia - whose lone birdie on the front nine came at the first.