PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rory McIlroy climbed deep into some tropical brush after hitting a flier over the sixth green Saturday at the Honda Classic.
You could say he summed up his round there, not because he ended up making double bogey, but because he was willing to go to such extremes to make the most of a tough day.
McIlroy crawled into the heavy brush at the sixth, planted himself on his knees in that tight space, choked up on an iron and punched himself out of trouble, short of the green. He ended up needing three more shots from there, but the determination led to better things.
After playing the first eight holes in 6 over, he turned his game around.
“I played a really good final 10 holes,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy bounced back with four birdies and a bogey to shoot 73. He’ll start Sunday 14 shots back.
“I just needed to hit some greens, hit some fairways, hit some solid shots and focus on that,” McIlroy said. “I hit some pretty good shots coming in.”
After starting the season strong with a tie for third at the Abu Dhabi Championship and finishing second at the Dubai Desert Classic, he’s looking to build on the confidence gained to get ready for the Masters in six weeks. He is playing for the third week in a row, and for the fifth week in the last six. He missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his 2018 PGA Tour debut and tied for 20th at the Genesis Open last week.
“I'm so happy to be playing,” McIlroy said Thursday. “I don't feel any ill effects, health-wise or mentally, or anything like that. Usually when you play your third week in a row, you feel like you're looking forward to the week off. But I feel great.”
McIlroy, who took a longer off season to recuperate after battling a nagging rib injury much of last year, has set up a busy early schedule to get ready for the Masters, where he will have a chance to complete the career Grand Slam.