McIlroy confident he can pull back Horschel’s lead in Texas
World number two lies four shots off the lead in San Antonio
Rory McIlroy hits his appraoch to the second hole during the third round of the Valero Texas at TPC San Antonio. Photograph: Michael Cohen/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy believes he can still have a shot at the Valero Texas Open title after ending the third round four shots behind leader Billy Horschel.
The world number two, chasing prime form ahead of the coming week’s Masters, shot a one-under-par 71 in San Antonio as American Horschel retained his two-shot overnight lead.
McIlroy was six under for the tournament going into the final round and in a tie for fourth place.
A late entry for the tournament, McIlroy shot a magnificent 67 on Friday and started his third round in a similar vein with two birdies in his first three holes.
The round looked to be going against his plans after bogey fives at the fourth, 10th and 11th, before birdies at the 12th and 14th moved him back into contention.
McIlroy said on the PGA Tour website: “For the most part it was just about trying to play smart ... and give yourself as many chances as you can.
“It was tough. I probably should have been a couple better but it’s still a solid round and I still have a chance heading into tomorrow.
“I felt yesterday was really good. Today was not quite as good but the wind made it tough to score. I feel like there’s a low one in me for sure.”
Hoffman also went round in 70 with five birdies and three bogeys, while Furyk birdied the last, his fifth of the round too, to shoot a 69.
McIlroy was in a group of three on six under with Ryan Palmer, who had the best round of the day, a 68, and Bob Estes, who shot a 69.
Palmer had four birdies in a flawless round, while Estes looked set to match him only for a bogey at the second last to peg him back.
Three-time Major winner Pádraig Harrington, whose last tournament win came on the Asian Tour in October 2010, was with Scotland’s Martin Laird in a group of five on five under. Jeff Overton, KJ Choi and Daniel Summerhays completed the quintet.
Harrington and Laird both shot 70s. Laird had an eagle at the par-four fifth but also had three birdies and three bogeys.
Shane Lowry carded five birdies but could only manage a level-par round of 72 and remains on two under going into the last round.