PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Some notes and nuggets to whet your appetite for Sunday’s final round at the Honda Classic:
• Rory McIlroy takes a 54-hole lead into a PGA Tour event for the third time, but it’s the first time he does so in any event other than a major championship. He lost the 54-hole lead at the Masters last year, but won the U.S. Open.
• McIlroy has led or shared the lead after 54 holes three times on the European Tour. He won just one of them, the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic.
• McIlroy tends to win big when he wins in the United States. He’s going for his third PGA Tour title. He won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow by four shots in 2010, the U.S. Open by eight shots last year.
• McIlroy started the week 16 over par through the Bear Trap (Nos. 15-17) in three tournaments, but he has played it in 3 under par so far this week. He has three birdies.
• Rookie Harris English, who won the Nationwide Tour’s Children’s Hospital Invitational as an amateur last year, is bidding to win his first PGA Tour event in his sixth PGA Tour start.
• Two rookies rank among the top five on the Honda Classic leaderboard, English and Brian Harman.
• Tom Gillis, the 43-year-old journeyman, will be in the final grouping with a pair of 22-year-olds, McIlroy and English.
• Tiger Woods is tied for 18th. In the 41-year history of the Honda Classic, only one winner has come from outside the top 10 entering Sunday and won. Padraig Harrington won in 2005 coming from seven shots back and from a tie for 21st.