Hoffman curled in the shot of the tournament at the US PGA event on Orlando’s famed Bay Hill course to cap a closing run of three consecutive birdies to join his US compatriot on 11-under 205 through 54 holes.
McIlroy, preparing his bid for a Masters win next month that would give him a career Grand Slam, fired a seven-under par 65 to stand on 210 in a share of eighth after a 74-71 start to the week. And it was a good sign as he looks toward a possible fifth major title and quest for a first green jacket in just three weeks at Augusta National.
After short birdie putts at the par-5 fourth and sixth holes, McIlroy roared into the hunt with three consecutive birdies to begin the back nine, the last of them a 20-footer at the par-5 12th.
World number three McIlroy closed his bogey-free round with a 15-foot birdie putt at 17 and a 12-foot birdie putt at 18. Warmer and calmer conditions compared to the first two days helped McIlroy go low. (AFP)