PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The golf deities seem to be smiling down on Rory McIlroy, who is poised to take over the No. 1 ranking Sunday if he can hang on to the lead and win the Honda Classic.
The weather gods, not so much.
Even with tee times moved up 3½ hours Sunday because of a bad weather forecast, play was delayed for close to two hours because of thunderstorms caused by a fast-moving cold front.
Play was halted after 70 minutes and only 34 players had completed at least one hole. The winds were expected to gust at around 40 mph during the afternoon, which could make the day a dicey proposition for those chasing McIlroy, who started the final round with a two-shot lead. The leaders eventually went off at about 12:20 p.m.
The tees on the infamous Bear Trap holes, Nos. 15-17, after being moved generously up Saturday, are back at full bore for the final round. The two par-3 holes will play 179 and 186 yards, both over water.
Play was halted at 9:36 a.m. ET, and after a fairly tame week, conditions were already difficult. Of the 34 players on the course, only two of them are under par for the round.
McIlroy, 22, has won twice in the five instances in which he has started the final round with at least a share of the lead in European and PGA tour competition.