Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Eagle-eyed caddie halts Rory McIlroy's charge in Abu Dhabi

January 18, 2014 -- Updated 2105 GMT (0505 HKT)
Caddie Dave Renwick (left) is the bearer of bad news for Rory McIlroy on the 18th green in Abu Dhabi
Caddie Dave Renwick (left) is the bearer of bad news for Rory McIlroy on the 18th green in Abu Dhabi
  • Rory McIlroy handed two-stroke penalty at Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
  • The punishment drops former world No.1 three shots behind leader
  • American Phil Mickelson finds form to move to two shots off the lead
  • Scotland's Craig Lee takes 12-under-par lead into final day in the desert

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- The eagle eyes of his playing partner's caddie halted Rory McIlroy's charge at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

McIlory was poised to finish the day one shot behind leader Craig Lee but instead he was handed a two-stroke penalty after Ricardo Gonzalez's bag man threw doubt over McIlroy's play at the second hole.

The former world No.1 was subsequently judged to have taken his shot with one foot on the white line that marks the spectator's path on the course.

"I hit my second shot on the second hole just into the left rough, but it was in the spectator crosswalk, so I took a drop, which obviously you're allowed to do out of it," McIlroy explained to reporters.

"I didn't notice it but my left foot was still on the white line as I played the shot and you need to take full relief.

Rio's Olympic golf course
Sergio Garcia on giving back
A new generation of golfing stars emerge

"I dropped it in a really bad lie, so actually had I known, I would have taken a better drop.

"It was unfortunate, but that's the rules of this game. I don't feel like I gained any sort of advantage by my foot being on a bit of white paint.

"I have to try to make up the shots as early as possible tomorrow. It gives me a bit of extra motivation."

Phil Mickelson may have squeezed his way through the cut but the American hit a sweet spot in Saturday's third round.

The British Open champion sunk nine birdies and an eagle to move two shots adrift of the lead alongside India's Gaganjeet Bhullar.

"I love the fact that I have a chance and that I'm in contention the first tournament out this year," Mickelson said.

"I love that I've played better each day. The first day, I felt terrible. The second day, half of it started to come around and today it started to feel pretty good and hopefully I'll be able to build on it again."

At the top of the tree, Lee is hoping for a fairytale finish to the Abu Dhabi tournament as he chases his first European Tour win.

"The quality of the players behind me is nothing I have been used to before," said Lee, who holds the lead on 12 under par.

"It's possible -- and fairytales do happen."

Read: Can desert dance inspire McIlroy?

Read: Anyone for snow golf?

Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.