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De Jonge (76) plummets down leaderboard in Rd. 3

Brendon de Jonge
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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 14: Soren Hansen of Denmark watches his tee shot during the first round of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on January 14, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)  - 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Through 39 holes at PGA National, things were falling Brendon de Jonge’s way. Over the subsequent 15 holes, de Jonge simply fell apart.

Playing alongside Rory McIlroy in the final pairing Saturday at the Honda Classic, de Jonge birdied two of his first three holes to reach 12 under for the tournament and get within one shot of the Ulsterman. From there, though, de Jonge struggled to keep his game on the rails, ultimately carding a 6-over 76 that sent him plummeting down the standings.

“It was just unfortunately one of those bad days,” said de Jonge, who will begin the final round at 4 under, eight shots behind McIlroy. “It’s going to happen if you play this game for long enough.”

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The Zimbabwean found water hazards at Nos. 6 and 11, leading to a double bogey in each instance. He closed his round with three bogeys across his final five holes, carding a 5-over 40 on the inward half. Of the 79 players that teed it up in the third round, only William McGirt (78) shot a higher score.

After taking just 51 putts through the first two rounds on the Champion Course, de Jonge needed 30 putts to complete his round Saturday despite finding only 11 of 18 greens in regulation.

“I just hit too many bad shots,” he added. “I was putting for too many pars on this golf course.”