Australian Marc Leishman birdied three of his first four holes Sunday to take the early final-round lead in the $7.5 million Farmers Insurance Open.
Patrick Reed and fellow American Brandt Snedeker were tied for second, one stroke behind Leishman. Spaniard Jon Rahm, the leader entering Sunday’s play, was among eight golfers two strokes off the lead after bogeying the first hole and double-bogeying the third.
Tiger Woods was three strokes off the lead in his first opportunity to become the PGA Tour’s winningest player. He birdied the second and sixth holes after opening his round with a bogey.
Leishman birdied the first, second and fourth holes at Torrey Pines Golf Course’s South Course to drop to 11-under-par for the tournament. He began the round four strokes off the lead in a seven-way tie for seventh.
The winner will receive $1.35 million.
Rahm shot a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 Saturday after beginning the day in a five-way tie for 12th, five shots off Palmer’s lead.
The 54-hole leader has gone on to win the Farmers Insurance Open six times since 2000, including Justin Rose last year, the first player to do so since Woods in 2013.
Rahm birdied the first hole and eagled the second Saturday, sinking a shot from 111 yards. The former Arizona State standout also birdied the sixth, ninth, 13th and 16th holes.
“The up-and-downs on five, six, 12, 13, 14 and 15 saved the round,” said Rahm, whose victory in the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open was the first of his three on the PGA Tour.
“It changed a round that could have been 3, 4 under, which is still a great round, into a bogey-free 7 under.”
Woods began the third round among 21 golfers tied for 17th, six strokes off the lead, then birdied the first, third and sixth holes to move to within three strokes of Palmer’s lead and into a five-way tie for fourth.
However, Woods had only one more birdie the rest of the round, on the par-5 ninth. His lone bogey came on the par-3 11th, where he missed a 6-foot, 2-inch putt for par.
The Farmers Insurance Open is Woods’ first official PGA Tour event since winning the Zozo Championship Oct. 27 to tie Sam Snead’s record of 82 victories.
Palmer, who entered the round with a two-stroke lead over fellow American Brandt Snedeker, shot a 1-under-par 71 Saturday with three bogeys — all on the first eight holes — and four birdies.
“A grind, that’s for sure,” said Palmer, who is not related to the late golfing legend Arnold Palmer. “I won’t lie, a little nerves there on the front nine. A great putt on nine for birdie I think was my calming factor, a little five, six-footer downhill.”
The 43-year-old Palmer is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, including teaming with Rahm to win last year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, his first victory since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.
Fog blanketing Torrey Pines Golf Course delayed the start of the third round by two hours on Saturday. Play was scheduled to begin at 7:35 a.m., but was rescheduled for 7:45 a.m., pushed back again to 8:05 a.m., then to 8:35 a.m., 9:05 a.m. and 9:35 a.m.
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