Honda Classic: Rory McIlroy maintains one-shot lead at halfway point in Florida
Rory McIlroy bounced back from a poor start to maintain a narrow lead at the halfway point of the Honda Classic.
Last Updated: 01/03/14 10:38am
Leading by one overnight, McIlroy looked in danger of squandering his advantage as he made two bogeys in his first three holes on Friday, but would then respond with six birdies to sign for a 66 that left him out on his own at 11-under.
He leads by one from Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (64) who twice pulled level with the Northern Irishman only to immediately drop shots on both occasions.
American Russell Henley (68) sits in third on eight-under, while Britons Lee Westwood and Russell Knox are just a stroke further adrift after rounds of 65 and 63 respectively.
There is further British interest towards the top of the leaderboard with Jamie Donaldson (69) well-placed at six-under and Luke Donald (68) part of a large group at five-under.
Tiger Woods snapped a streak of five straight rounds of par or worse at PGA National with a 69 that ensured he made the halfway cut with just a shot to spare.
But the World No 1 was again a long way from his best as he mixed three birdies and two bogeys - managing to hit just one green in regulation on his back nine - and, at level-par, is now 11 shots off the McIlroy's pace.
The 24-year-old, who endured such well-publicised issues at the event last year, showed commendable patience this time around after a poor drive at 11th and clumsy approach at 12th cost him two early strokes.
But, playing the back nine first, he steadied the ship with birdies at 16 and 18 and then moved through the gears with three more in succession at three, four and five.
He completed a satisfactory day's work by sinking a 30-footer to make his final gain of the round at the par-3 seventh and admitted afterwards he was pleased with his efforts.
"I had to stay patient, I didn't get off to the best start... got it back to even-par at the turn and then played really well coming in," he said.
"Once I found my rhythm I played really nicely and putted very well again today which was the key.
"You know on this golf course you're going to make bogeys, it's inevitable. It's all about putting your ball in play here and getting into the right position to go at some of these tough flags."