Rory McIlroy, who relinquished his hold on No. 1 in the World Ranking last summer, is on the threshold of rejoining the quest for the top spot by opening a three-stroke lead through three rounds of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Saturday.
McIlroy, who missed the British Open and was out for a month with an ankle injury last year, began the round trailing Adam Scott by two, shot a bogey-free four-under par 68 and now leads Scott and Dustin Johnson by three.
On the difficult Blue Monster course at Trump Doral, McIlroy has played 34 consecutive holes without a bogey in bidding to win for the first time on the PGA Tour since May of last year.
“I just played a really solid round of golf,” he said. “I didn’t make any mistakes, no bogeys, which is what I’ve been looking to do. I feel like I’e been making too many mistakes. To eliminate mistakes and hole a lot of good putts I felt really good about it.”
Scott, who won the Honda Classic last Sunday, shot a one-over par 73, while Johnson, the defending champion, had a two-under par 70.
Phil Mickelson posted a two-under par 70 to move into a tie for fourth place, five behind McIlroy.
Spieth, meanwhile, has not been a factor. He shot a one-over par 73 on Saturday and fell to a tie for 17th, 10 strokes behind McIlroy.