Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Woods makes cut
LA JOLLA, Calif. — Ryan Palmer holds a one-shot lead over defending champion Jon Rahm entering Saturday’s third round of the $6.9 million Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.
Tiger Woods is 10 shots off the lead after birdieing his final hole Friday to go to 1-under-par for the tournament, making the cut with no room to spare in his first PGA Tour event after a yearlong absence.
The 42-year-old Woods shot a 1-under-par 71 on the North Course.
“I was grinding my way around the golf course,” said Woods, who is among 13 golfers tied for 65th. “I didn’t quite hit it as good as I would like to.”
Woods began his round on the back nine, parring each of the first three holes, then had a double bogey on the par-4 13th. He parred each of his next five holes.
Woods birdied the first, fifth and seven holes to move to 1-under for the tournament, which was inside the projected cut at the time. He bogeyed the par-3 eighth hole to fall outside the cutline, then birdied the ninth, making a cut in a PGA Tour event for the first time since the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
Woods missed the cut in last year’s Farmers Insurance Open, shooting a 4-over par 148 for two rounds, then underwent a fourth back surgery that sidelined him for the next 10 months.
Palmer entered Friday’s play in a two-way tie for second, one shot off the lead, then started par-bogey-bogey on the North Course. He was 7-under over his last 15 holes, including eagles on the ninth and 17th holes and a birdie on the 18th for a 5-under 67.
Palmer’s total of 11-under 133 is the tournament’s best 36-hole start since Woods was 11-under for the first two rounds in 2013.
Woods is the tournament’s most recent 36-hole leader to go on to win. The last four winners have been at least four shots off the lead at the tournament’s midway point.
The 41-year-old Palmer began the 2017-18 season on a major medical extension after undergoing shoulder surgery in October. He had six events available to earn the necessary 29 points to equal No. 125 J.J. Henry’s 365- point total from the 2017 FedExCup points list to retain full eligibility through the end of the season.
Palmer tied for 20th in last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge, his second start of the season, earning 37.55 points.
Palmer has three victories on the PGA Tour, most recently the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.
Rahm shot a bogey-free 6-under-66 on the North Course to go to 10- under 134 for the tournament.
“I had the putter really hot on the first nine holes, I made a lot of really good putts, four for birdie and par, but my short game kept me alive,” Rahm said.
“All those par saves and a couple of those 50-yard shots over rough to make birdie on 10 and 11, it made this round be what it is. It could have been 2-under par or 3-under par, close to even, maybe even, but those couple of saves is what made it be such a good round.”
Rahm, a Spaniard who received a communications degree from Arizona State in 2016, is second on the Official World Golf Ranking. A victory would move him into first, passing American Dustin Johnson.
First-round leader Tony Finau and fellow American Luke List are tied for third, two shots off the lead at 9-under 135.
Finau shot a 2-under-70 on the South Course after beginning the tournament with a 7-under 65 on the North Course Thursday.
List’s second-round 6-under 66 on the South Course tied the best round on the course through two days of the tournament. The final two rounds will be played on the South Course.
Australian Jason Day had Friday’s low score, a bogey-free 8-under 64 on the North Course that lifted him into a tie for sixth, at 7-under 137, four shots off the lead.
“I drove it nicely, which gave myself opportunities, and then I putted well,” said Day, who won the tournament in 2015.
Tournament organizers are expecting parking to sell out Saturday and are advising fans to take Uber to the course, with drivers able to take passengers near the main entrance.