SAN DIEGO — Justin Rose had three penalties and still kept a three-shot lead Saturday with a 3-under 69 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose had six birdies and an eagle on another pristine day along the Pacific Ocean, a big reason why scores have been so low this week on a South course that will host another U.S. Open in two years. When he two-putted from 12 feet for eagle on the par-5 13th, Rose led by six shots.
And then he pulled his shot from a fairway bunker into the hazard for a double bogey, his second of the round. And torn between laying up with an 8-iron or going for the green on the par-5 18th, Rose hit a 3-wood heavy from the first cut and went into the water, closing with a bogey.
He still tied the 54-hole tournament record at 18-under 198.
Leaderboard:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 26, 2019
1. @JustinRose99, -18
2. Adam Scott, -15
3. @JonRahmPGA, -14
4. @DougGhim, -13
5. @TalorGooch, -12
6. @Hank_Lebioda, -11
6. @McIlroyRory, -11
6. @BillyHo_Golf, -11
6. @Joel_Dahmen, -11
6. Hideki Matsuyama, -11@FarmersInsOpen scores: https://t.co/vZk1d8dmgT pic.twitter.com/92WR8zguFC
Jon Rahm had a 68 and was four shots behind, followed by 22-year-old Doug Ghim, the former No. 1 amateur playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption. Ghim shot a 67.
Tiger Woods had the biggest gallery and didn’t make much noise. Woods birdied three of his last five holes to salvage a 71, leaving him 13 shots behind and in search of moral victories in his 2019 debut.
He was at 5-under 211.
“I think if I can get to double digits (under par), it would be just a nice way to end the week,” Woods said. “I’ve got to play a little better than I have.”
Scott was the only player to give Rose a serious run, and it didn’t feel like much.
Starting the day seven shots behind, Scott opened with an 8-foot birdie and then holed out from 103 yards for eagle on the next hole. He added four birdies in a five-hole stretch at the turn and delivered the low round of the tournament on the South course.
And he still wondered if it was enough.
“It’s almost all up to him tomorrow,” Scott about Rose, his neighbor in the Bahamas. “So that’s no pressure on me. But this is not a course I can go out and just fire at pins. It’s too easy to make big errors. I’ll just have to chip away and see if he can do the same.”
Rose made plenty of errors, though he atoned for them with plenty of exquisite shots.
Scott said he would not be thinking about winning overnight, not with Rose the player he is chasing.
Rose is No. 1 in the world, with five victories in the last 14 months and a game that is not showing many weaknesses.
“He’s just playing too good,” Scott said. “He’s the No. 1 player in the world, he’s played well for over two years. He’s feeling it. He wants to take advantage of all of his good golf and that’s why he’s running away with this thing.”
Scott said the one positive about his position is only one player is front of him.
Rose has a 3-6 record when he has the lead going into the final round on the PGA Tour, and he knows now to take anything for granted, even the way he’s playing on a strong South course. Rose and Scott are longtime friends, while Rahm won at Torrey Pines two years ago and has an explosive game, opening this event with a 62.
“I expect Jon and Adam to come out and play well tomorrow, as well as the chasing pack,” Rose said. “But one of those guys is capable of something in the mid-60s. Obviously, if I go out and shoot 68, then that’s a great round of golf. But a 68 on the South course isn’t anyone’s to lose. You have to go out and get it. I think it’s going to take a good round of golf tomorrow to get this done.”
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