Double trouble: Mid-round mistakes derail McIlroy


Midway through the third round of the DP World Tour Championship, everything was on schedule: Henrik Stenson, defending champion, was out in front, but he had been caught at 12 under by 2012 champ Rory McIlroy.

Thirty minutes later, McIlroy was four shots back.

The Ulsterman is making his first start in nearly two months, and while he remains in contention there has been plenty of rust - just look back at Friday's "fat, low, duck-hook" 3-wood. McIlroy was 4 under through the first 10 holes of his third round when the wheels (temporarily) fell off, as he was derailed by back-to-back double bogeys.

The trouble began on the par-4 12th, where McIlroy's tee shot found a deep fairway bunker and he was forced to play back into the fairway. After a short approach, he was ultimately left with a five-foot putt for bogey, which slid right.

McIlroy's tee shot on the par-3 13th was then closer to the gallery than the green, leaving him with a difficult short-sided pitch. He took an aggressive approach that came up short of the green - as did his next pitch, a flop shot that got caught in the greenside fringe. From there, McIlroy got up-and-down for another double.

The world No. 1 quickly righted the ship, with a birdie on the next hole followed by another birdie on No. 18 to close a round of 2-under 70. At 10 under, he remains within striking distance, four shots behind Stenson and Cabrera-Bello, but it goes to show that even the best player on the planet can't walk back onto the course after several weeks away without a hiccup. Or two.