Sublime 67 leaves Rory McIlroy right in the mix at Torrey Pines

Four-time Major winner has world No1 in his sights as he joins Jon Rahm in final group

Rory McIlroy stands on the fourth hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Photo: Denis Poroy/AP Photo

Rory McIlroy stands on the fourth hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Photo: Denis Poroy/AP Photo

 

World number three Jon Rahm made an eagle from 110 yards en route to the third-round lead at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Saturday as Tiger Woods faded after a strong start.

Rahm shot the day’s best score, a seven-under-par 65, to surge to a one-shot advantage over American halfway leader Ryan Palmer (71) at Torrey Pines, where morning fog delayed the start of play by two hours.

Rory McIlroy, who with a win on Sunday would supplant Brooks Koepka as world number one, boosted his chances with a 67 that left him among a group equal third, three behind.

McIlroy could rue some missed putts on a few greens in his third round which could have seen him move closer to the lead but the four-time Major winner stayed patient throughout, making birdies at the third, sixth, ninth, 12th, 15th and 18th with just one bogey coming at the fourth.

A towering faded five-wood into the final green to set up 15 feet for eagle was one of the highlights of the day and while the putt for a three slipped past the edge, McIlroy was happy to tap in for a closing birdie and an altogether impressive round.

Woods, seeking a record 83rd PGA Tour victory, sent a proverbial bolt of electricity through the large gallery as he charged within striking distance of the lead with four front nine birdies.

But he struggled on the more difficult inward half and carded three-under-par 69 to end the day equal 14th, five strokes behind Rahm.

“Three-putted (hole) 11 and just never really got anything going coming home,” said Woods, who had to grind to avoid dropping a shot at the par-five 18th, where he sank a 15-foot putt to salvage par.

Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines and acknowledged he would need a special Sunday to make it number nine.

“Got to go out there and post a low one tomorrow, still got to make a bunch of birdies,” he said.

Woods hits out of the bunker on the first hole. Photo: Denis Poroy/AP Photo
Woods hits out of the bunker on the first hole. Photo: Denis Poroy/AP Photo

Leader Rahm, feeling good vibes on the course where he posted his first PGA Tour win three years ago, used his unique, powerful swing to run up five birdies and post a 12-under 204 total.

But it was the eagle at the par-four second that had the gallery most buzzing.

“Landed about four feet short, skipped up and landed in the hole,” said the Spaniard, who had chipped in for birdie at the first.

“Three-under through two holes, no putts, yeah, a pretty good start,” said Rahm.

“The MVP (most valuable player) of today would be my lob wedge. Especially those bunker shots, they weren’t easy and I made it look pretty easy.”

Second-placed Palmer partnered Rahm to win the New Orleans Classic team event last year, but on Sunday they will temporarily put their friendship aside.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Palmer said.

“Of course you’re rooting for him (in New Orleans) and trying to say, ‘hit it here’ and ‘hit it there’, so maybe tomorrow I’ll say, ‘hit over there’ instead.”

Collated third round scores and totals in the Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines GC, United States of America (USA unless stated, par 72):

204 Jon Rahm (Spa) 68 71 65

205 Ryan Palmer (USA) 72 62 71

207 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 67 73 67, Harry Higgs (USA) 70 68 69, Sung Kang (Kor) 69 71 67, Cameron Champ (USA) 71 68 68

208 Sebastian Cappelen (Den) 66 71 71, Tony Finau (USA) 70 70 68, J.B. Holmes (USA) 68 69 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 68 72 68, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 69 67 72, Tyler McCumber (USA) 72 68 68, Patrick Reed (USA) 69 69 70

209 Tiger Woods (USA) 69 71 69, Bubba Watson (USA) 67 73 69, Tom Hoge (USA) 71 71 67, Mark Anderson (USA) 74 66 69

210 Maverick McNealy (USA) 71 71 68, Cameron Davis (Aus) 76 65 69, Zac Blair (USA) 72 66 72, Jamie Lovemark (USA) 73 68 69

211 Keegan Bradley (USA) 66 72 73, Brandon Wu (USA) 68 72 71, Ben Taylor (Eng) 71 69 71, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 71 70 70, Beau Hossler (USA) 72 66 73, Jimmy Walker (USA) 71 70 70, Patrick Rodgers (USA) 70 69 72, Sungjae Im (Kor) 67 73 71, Kevin Streelman (USA) 72 71 68

212 Jason Day (Aus) 73 67 72, Jason Kokrak (USA) 69 74 69, Zack Sucher (USA) 70 73 69, Joel Dahmen (USA) 67 73 72, Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 72 69, Max Homa (USA) 73 68 71, Joseph Bramlett (USA) 71 70 71, Russell Knox (Sco) 69 74 69, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 69 68 75, Will Gordon (USA) 75 68 69, Cameron Tringale (USA) 68 75 69

213 Matthew Wolff (USA) 76 66 71, Pat Perez (USA) 69 74 70, Robby Shelton (USA) 71 72 70, Jason Dufner (USA) 70 71 72, Matthew NeSmith (USA) 67 70 76, Lucas Glover (USA) 73 67 73, Collin Morikawa (USA) 70 69 74, Jordan Spieth (USA) 70 70 73

214 Charley Hoffman (USA) 69 74 71, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 73 67 74, Scott Stallings (USA) 71 69 74, Rhein Gibson (Aus) 69 73 72, Christopher Baker (USA) 72 68 74, Stewart Cink (USA) 68 71 75, Denny McCarthy (USA) 70 71 73, Martin Laird (Sco) 71 71 72, John Huh (USA) 70 73 71, J.J. Spaun (USA) 73 67 74

215 Luke List (USA) 73 70 72, Grayson Murray (USA) 70 73 72, Talor Gooch (USA) 71 72 72, Cameron Smith (Aus) 70 71 74, Xinjun Zhang (Chn) 67 76 72, Bill Haas (USA) 72 70 73, Kevin Tway (USA) 67 74 74, Cameron Percy (Aus) 68 73 74

216 Matt Jones (Aus) 75 68 73, Sam Burns (USA) 74 69 73, Ryan Brehm (USA) 70 72 74, Harris English (USA) 72 70 74

217 Doc Redman (USA) 70 73 74

218 Trey Mullinax (USA) 77 66 75, Richy Werenski (USA) 72 68 78, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 67 74 77

219 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 76 66 77, Dominic Bozzelli (USA) 68 73 78

220 Chase Seiffert (USA) 71 71 78, Billy Horschel (USA) 68 72 80

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