Rory McIlroy will be more than happy with his preparation for this week’s WGC CA Championship when he tackles Doral’s Blue Monster.
The Ulster teenager more than held his own in his first US strokeplay event, the Honda Classic in Florida, his one under 69 enough to keep him inside the top twenty.
And it would have been significantly better had he not twice visited the water.
McIlroy had little to lose on the par five closing hole but took on an almost impossible 263 yards approach over the lake only to see his ball disappear.
His first splashdown ended a run of three birdies in a row from the third as he quickly climbed the leaderboard.
But if he was to catch overnight leader YE Yang, he could not afford to drop shots and that’s precisely what he did at the next two holes.
In all he carded six birdies but five bogeys in a day of mixed emotions.
Darren Clarke also started the day five shots adrift of Yang at one under but a double-bogey six at the eighth hole brought an abrupt halt to his chances of success.