Rory McIlroy bitten by ‘The Bear Trap,’ stumbles late at Cognizant Classic

The famous ‘Bear Trap’ at PGA National ate Rory McIlroy and spat him back out.

McIlroy arrived at the par-3 15th at 10-under for the tournament, two shots off the pace. He had birdied three of his last five holes and had all the momentum in the world going during the third round of the Cognizant Classic.

But he tugged his tee shot at 15 into the sand trap behind the green and failed to get up and down. He dropped back to 9-under, but the worst was yet to come.

On the next hole, the par-4 16th, McIlroy found the fairway again. He has striped his drives all week, leading the field in strokes gained off the tee.

Then, Mcllroy inexplicably pushed his second shot into the water to the right of the green. He has struggled with his irons and wedges at PGA National, as he has failed to put himself in a position to make easy birdies.

Those struggles reared their ugly head again at 16, where his ball came to rest in the penalty area. It was partially submerged in the water, so McIlroy decided to take his shoes and socks off, get into the lake, and try and play it.

The move backfired, as McIlroy’s third shot made a massive splash, spraying water everywhere, but his golf ball went nowhere.

Consequently, McIlroy picked it up, took a penalty stroke, dropped, and made a triple-bogey seven.

He fell all the way back to 6-under for the tournament, losing all the ground he had made up in a span of about 30 minutes.

McIlroy then made a par at the par-3 17th—the final hole of ‘The Bear Trap’—and then birdied the easy par-5 18th to finish at 7-under through 54 holes.

He trails Shane Lowry, David Skinns, and Austin Eckroat by six shots going into Sunday’s final round.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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