Honda Classic 2012: Rory McIlroy and Most Likely Third-Round Leaders

Austin GreenCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2012

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 02:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National on March 2, 2012 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The third round of the 2012 Honda Classic is underway, and although Justin Rose entered Saturday at the top of the leaderboard, his position has already been snatched away.

Several golfers are gunning for first place today, including the world's No. 2 player Rory McIlroy. The young Irishman is currently in first place, and he looks determined to hold on to the top spot. 

However, he's not the only talented golfer in the hunt. Here are the most likely players to lead the Honda Classic after third-round play.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy is just on a roll right now. 

He was beautifully consistent in the first two rounds, dropping a 66 on Thursday and 67 on Friday. He birdied three of his last five holes in Round 2 to keep himself in the hunt with Rose and the surprising Tom Gillis.

As I'm writing this, he's currently two under through four holes, effectively snatching the lead from Rose.

With a win at Palm Beach this weekend, McIlroy will become the second youngest player to reach the world No. 1 ranking. If he continues to play like a man on a mission, the world's top spot will be his.

Keegan Bradley

Another young gun, Bradley looks determined to rise up the leader board this weekend.

After shooting a 67 on Thursday and a 68 on Friday, he's currently one under through six holes in Round 3. He's sitting at six under for the tournament, which is three strokes behind the surging McIlroy.

He played with McIlroy in the first two rounds. If he keeps up the strong play, he'll be paired with his fellow prodigy for the final round.

Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel, the 12th ranked player in the world, is raging in Round 3.

He's four under through 10, notching birdies on the second, third, fourth and sixth holes. He's just two strokes behind McIlroy, and he's more than capable of making up the difference.

As he proved at the 2011 Masters, Schwartzel is as dangerous as any player in the field. Don't be surprised if he's sitting atop the leader board heading into Sunday's final round.


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