This one cleared the sand and settled 8 feet away, and Woods swept his fist when it dropped for eagle.
He finished at 270, his lowest 72-hole score since he had a 265 at the 2009 BMW Championship, his last PGA Tour win.
The roar from thousands of fans down the 18th fairway could be heard at every corner of PGA National, yet it didn't rattle McIlroy. Moments later, he holed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 13th to build his lead back to two shots.
From there, it was a matter of hanging on.
With so much emphasis on his swing, the final hour was all about his will. After making his first birdie on the eighth hole, McIlroy had a two-shot cushion for most of the final round. But there was something different about having someone — especially Woods — in the clubhouse at 10 under, with McIlroy facing six holes and a shrinking margin of error.
He was 65 feet from the hole in rough so deep he had trouble finding his ball when McIlroy gouged out a wedge to 4 feet for par. In the back bunker on the par-3 15th, facing a shot that ran away from him toward the water, he blasted out to 6 feet and made another clutch par putt.
His final act was from another bunker on the par-3 17th, and he saved par again. McIlroy had seven one-putt greens (another was a birdie from the fringe), and one-putted four of the last six holes.
"My short game all week has been very good, and it's what you need on a tough golf course like this," McIlroy said. "I was able to do that, especially on 15 and 17. I needed to make pars there. My short game felt good all week, and it definitely saved me today."
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