Woods needs big Sunday at Torrey Pines to claim win No. 83
January 25, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods' Round 3 highlights from Farmers
SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods lit up the front nine of Torrey Pines on Saturday, allowing the raucous Southern California crowd to dream of an 83rd PGA TOUR win at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The 44-year-old – who already has eight career wins at Torrey – had pulled within two of the lead and the fog that had delayed play earlier on the coastal course had no chance of returning such was the collective wind coming from the thunderous applause and thousands of cheers.
The two hour delay to the start of play was not ideal for Woods who has undergone four back surgeries but he killed the time by sitting in his car with the heater dialed up. It seemed to do the trick.
Woods started with revenge on the opening hole with a 13-foot birdie – the same hole he four-putted from 25 feet a day earlier for double bogey. He could’ve easily converted from a similar distance on the second but settled for par before hitting it stiff on the par-3 third to move to two under on the round.
An important chip-in for par on the fourth kept the momentum and further birdies on the two par-5s on the front side had Woods rolling and the rest of the field taking notice. But then things stalled.
Woods would make a sloppy bogey on the par-3 11th and then fail to make any birdies coming home. He did make an important par save on the last after a sloppy drive and wedge, leaving him with a respectable but not incredible 3-under 69. He now sits in a tie for 14th, five shots back of the lead held by 2017 champion Jon Rahm.
If Woods is to take himself out of a tie with Sam Snead for the most TOUR wins of all time he will need to replicate his front nine heroics, but also continue the march down the stretch come Sunday.
“The goal was to get to double digits at the end of the day. I figured that would be within maybe the last couple groups going out tomorrow,” Woods said. “Wasn't quite able to get there, but hopefully tomorrow I can get off to another quick start and keep it going.”
To do so Woods said he needs to get his approach game back to his lofty standards. After ranking 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach in round two, gaining +1.278 shots on the field, Woods dropped to 39th in the third round gaining just +0.231 strokes.
“I missed my numbers a few times out there the last couple days and need to clean that up,” Woods said. “There were a couple times that we were talking about earlier with a new ball, it was going through the wind a little bit better and trying to get a feel for that.
“You're not going to win them all, and I've put myself there in the position to win a lot of events. I've lost my share of events, but in order to win them, you've got to be there a lot. Over the course of 20‑plus years out here, I've been pretty consistent.”
Woods will have a chance to get out a little ahead of the lead pack and apply some pressure if he can start hot but he’s under no illusions it will be tough to reel in Rahm and the likes of FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy. TOUR winners Ryan Palmer, Sung Kang, Cameron Champ, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker and J.B. Holmes are also amongst those who will start above him.
“I still got to go out there and post a low one tomorrow, still got to make a bunch of birdies tomorrow and move up that board,” he said.
“No doubt it was important to make that putt (on 18). It was important to have some kind of positive momentum going into tomorrow.”