Published Sunday, 09 March 2014
McIlroy watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round. (© Getty)
The Holywood man endured a miserable afternoon on the Blue Monster course in Doral, with the lowlight of the round coming as he carded two double bogeys in a three-hole span between the eighth and the tenth.
A chip-in birdie at the par-four 18th salvaged the ending for the former world number one as he ended with a three-over 75, leaving him tied for 19th place and seven shots behind leader Patrick Reed.
"Couldn't hole a putt for birdie, so may as well chip one in," a disappointed McIlroy said.
"It was a tough day. Hit two balls in the water on eight, didn't play the par fives well at all, played those in four over, so when you do that right here you're sort of putting yourself behind the 8-ball a little bit."
The chip-in at least left him more positive about the final round.
He added: "It gives you momentum going into tomorrow, definitely. I'd rather stand on the first tee tomorrow 3 over than 4 over."
McIlroy's Northern Ireland compatriot McDowell also let things slip slightly as he dropped from one under to one over after a 73.
Elsewhere on Saturday Tiger Woods bounced back from a back injury last week to produce his best round for some time, to shoot a six-under par 66.
He joined the leaderboard alongside fellow American Reed, who has held at least a share of the lead every day and shot a three-under 69 to reach four under.
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