Will Zalatoris chips his way into share of lead with Jason Day at Torrey Pines

World No 1 Jon Rahm one shot behind alongside England’s Aaron Rai heading into final round

 Will Zalatoris reacts with his caddie after making an eagle from the fairway on the  second hole during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course of the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Will Zalatoris reacts with his caddie after making an eagle from the fairway on the second hole during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course of the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

 

Will Zalatoris shot a seven-under-par 65 on Friday and moved into a tie at the top the leaderboard with Australia’s Jason Day after three rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open at the Torrey Pines in San Diego.

The PGA Tour rookie of the year last season was tied with Day at 14 under heading into Saturday’s final round. The tournament was moved up a day to avoid a television conflict with the NFL conference championship games on Sunday.

Zalatoris started the day six shots off the lead, which was shared by three players, including world No 1 Jon Rahm of Spain and Justin Thomas, ranked No 6.

Rahm shot an even-par 72 on Friday and fell into a third-place tie with England’s Aaron Rai (68) at 13 under. A group of three at 12 under included Thomas (73), Cameron Tringale (72) and South Korea’s Sungjae Im (68).

An eagle two at the 381-yard, par-four second hole got Zalatoris’s third round off to a hot start. He hit a 338-yard drive to 38 yards from the pin and chipped in from there, landing the ball on the front of the green before it rolled to the cup.

He added five birdies, including three in a row from the eighth, leaving Zalatoris in prime position for his first PGA Tour victory. He made a splash last season when he finished second at the Masters.

Yet his best shot on Friday might have come from an awkward lie near a bunker at the 11th. He scooped the ball out of the rough, over a bunker and back into more rough in front of the green, where it checked up and released to within an inch of the cup for a par.

“[The second hole] was pretty awesome, but the one on 11 was just kind of a joke,” Zalatoris said. “That’s a shot that you’re having an up-and-down contest with your buddies, you’re just trying to get it somewhere on the green and I just got away with it. Two is probably a little bit more important in my opinion just because it got the momentum right for the day.”

Day had a pair of birdies on the front nine before closing strong with a wild final seven holes. He followed a bogey five on the 12th with birdies at the 13th, 16th, 17th and 18th to grab a tie for the lead.

Day is a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, winning the Farmers Insurance Open in both 2015 and 2018.

“It’s nice to be able to know that I’ve done it on the golf course twice, not only in regulation but also in playoffs, but tomorrow’s a new day and you don’t know what’s going to come,” Day said. “I’ve just got to kind of get a good rest tonight, get into it tomorrow and just be patient.”

After a 66 in the opening round and a 65 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead, Rahm stumbled on Friday with a double-bogey six at the 10th. He put his second shot just over the green and found the edge of the green again on his chip back to the pin. He missed an 11-foot putt for bogey and had just one more birdie the rest of the day.

“I played great, I think,” Rahm said. “I feel like I played a lot better than the score shows. There was only two holes where I struggled and probably gave a couple too many back. Today’s one of those days that happened at Torrey Pines South. I played great golf but I just couldn’t take the opportunities and it’s going to be hard to shoot low.”

Thomas’s struggles included a pair of bogeys on the front nine and another pair on the back. He added three birdies on the front side.

The low round of the day belonged to Cameron Young, whose eight-under 64 was only able to move him into a five-way tie for eighth place at 11 under. Also at 11 under was first-round leader Billy Horschel (69).

Leaderboard

USA unless stated, Par: North Course 72, South Course 72:

202 Jason Day (Aus) 70 65 67, Will Zalatoris 69 68 65

203 Jon Rahm (Esp) 66 65 72, Aaron Rai (Eng) 67 68 68

204 Sung Jae Im (Kor) 70 66 68, Justin Thomas 68 63 73, Cameron Tringale 67 65 72

205 Billy Horschel 63 73 69, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 71 64 70, Maverick McNealy 67 71 67, Ryan Palmer 67 69 69, Cameron Young 67 74 64

206 Bill Haas 67 69 70, Dustin Johnson 68 69 69, Peter Malnati 67 66 73, Taylor Pendrith (Can) 67 71 68, Adam Schenk 69 62 75,Sepp Straka (Aut) 73 66 67

207 Daniel Berger 67 72 68, Marc Leishman (Aus) 71 67 69, Luke List 67 68 72, Taylor Montgomery 72 64 71, Pat Perez 72 68 67, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 71 69, Scottie Scheffler 70 67 70, Michael Thompson 64 73 70

208 Matthew NeSmith 68 71 69, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 69 68 71, Guillermo Mito Pereira (Chi) 69 69 70, Robert Streb 67 73 68, Sahith Theegala 67 68 73, Jimmy Walker 69 70 69

209 Sebastian Munoz (Col) 74 65 70, Doc Redman 74 63 72, Xander Schauffele 68 72 69, Nick Taylor (Can) 73 65 71, Gary Woodland 72 68 69

210 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 69 69 72, Joseph Bramlett 73 66 71, Cameron Champ 75 65 70, Doug Ghim 66 73 71, Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 69 71, Patrick Reed 72 66 72, Austin Smotherman 67 71 72, JJ Spaun 73 66 71, Kevin Streelman 70 71 69

211 Keegan Bradley 70 70 71, Cameron Davis (Aus) 68 72 71, Talor Gooch 73 66 72, Martin Laird (Sco) 67 74 70, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 66 72 73, Chad Ramey 71 67 73, Patrick Rodgers 71 69 71, Alex Smalley 73 62 76, Kevin Tway 65 74 72, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 71 69 71

212 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 72 67 73, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 71 68 73, Greyson Sigg 72 68 72, Camilo Villegas (Col) 70 69 73, Matthew Wolff 71 70 71

213 Wyndham Clark 69 72 72, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 71 70 72, Hank Lebioda 74 67 72, Chez Reavie 70 70 73, Curtis Thompson 70 71 72

214 Bronson Burgoon 70 70 74, Kevin Chappell 73 68 73, Adam Long 72 69 73, Scott Piercy 72 66 76

215 Lanto Griffin 73 68 74, David Lipsky 68 73 74, Seung-Yul Noh (Kor) 73 68 74

216 Michael Gligic (Can) 67 74 75, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 72 69 75, Chengtsung Pan (Tai) 67 72 77

217 Scott Stallings 69 72 76

218 Andrew Novak 71 70 77

220 Adam Svensson (Can) 72 69 79

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