Rory McIlroy stays in touch with the leaders at Texas Open

Rory McIlroy ponders his day after the third round of the Texas Open

Rory McIlroy stayed in touch with the leaders after carding a one-under 71 in the third round of the Texas Open.

The Northern Irishman is six under for the tournament and four shots off American Billy Horschel's lead.

McIlroy was a late entry into the San Antonio event as he bids to play himself into form for next week's Masters, the first major of the year.

"I'm still in a decent position going into the last day and hopefully I can make a run of it," he said.

McIlroy briefly moved up to second in the opening stages of the third round with two birdies in the first three holes, before a bogey at the fourth and two more immediately after the turn blotted his card.

Birdies on the 14th and 15th saw the 23-year-old claw back ground and he might have finished the day even better placed after striking the longest drive of the day at the par-four 17th - but a poor second shot saw him settle for par.

It was the same story at the 18th when the world number two's second shot caught the wind and landed in a greenside bunker.

"I felt like I fought back well after I started the back nine with those three-putts," he said. "But I had a couple of chances coming in which I didn't take advantage of."

Overnight leader Horschel carded five birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70 as he maintained his two-shot advantage at the head of the field.

Jim Furyk birdied the 18th to move into second on eight under alongside fellow American Charley Hoffman.

McIlroy lies in a group of three on six under, while Ireland's three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, whose last tournament win came on the Asian Tour in October 2010, was also well placed in a group of four players including Scotland's Martin Laird on five under.

David Lynn is the highest-placed Englishman in the field on three under after a 71.