Fog finally lifts; Golfers hope to wrap up last round Monday
SAN DIEGO — Everything became perfectly clear Sunday at Torrey Pines. Tiger Woods was on his game and headed toward yet another win.
Woods seized control in the fog-delayed Farmers Insurance Open with a strong driving performance that carried him to a 3-under 69 and a four-shot lead after the third round. Even when he got a little wild off the tee late in the chilly afternoon of the fourth round, he still made birdies to stretch his lead to six shots when play was suspended by darkness.
Woods had 11 holes left to play when the round resumes Monday.
“It was a long day ... and I played well today,” Woods said. “Overall, I’m very pleased that I was able to build on my lead.”
Thick fog washed out all of Saturday, forcing players to go from sunrise to sunset Sunday. They finished the third round, took about 30 minutes for lunch and went right back onto the golf course. CBS Sports wants to televise the conclusion — no surprise with Woods in the lead — so the round will not resume until 1 p.m. CST.
Woods was at 17-under-par for the tournament.
Defending champion Brandt Snedeker was 4 under through 13 holes of the final round and he was not making up much ground on Woods. Snedeker was at 11 under, along with Nick Watney, who was through eight holes.
Woods finished 54 holes at 14-under 202 and was four shots ahead of Canadian rookie Brad Fritsch. It was the 16th time in his PGA Tour career that Woods had a 54-hole lead of at least four shots.
If that wasn’t enough to make the outcome look inevitable, everything was going his way in the final hour.
His tee shot was so far left on No. 2 that the ball finished in the first cut of rough in the sixth fairway. He still saved par. Woods made a birdie putt of about 10 feet on No. 3, and then wound up well right of the cart path and blocked by a tree on the fourth hole. He carved a punch shot around the tree, safely in front of the green, and his chip banged into the pin and dropped for birdie.
Two holes later, from a mangled lie in the right rough, he smashed a 5-wood that ran onto the green and set up a two-putt birdie.
Snedeker was seven shots behind after three rounds, the same deficit he faced a year ago. Only now he’s trying to chase down Woods, already a seven-time winner at Torrey Pines with a daunting record from in front. Woods is 38-2 on the PGA Tour when he has the outright lead going into the last round.
“I’ve got to make some more birdies,” Snedeker said. “I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads, so I have to go catch him. I did a great job today of staying patient and playing good golf.”
Woods didn’t bother wearing red Sunday, knowing the tournament wouldn’t end until the next day.
In some respects, though, it had the feeling of being over. Fritsch birdied the last hole of the third round for a 70 to finish on 206. Erik Compton finished birdie-eagle for a 71 and was alone in third through 54 holes, five shots behind. When someone asked him about chasing Woods, Compton started laughing. “I’m trying to chase myself,” he said.
Woods has won seven times at Torrey Pines as a pro, including a U.S. Open, and another win Monday would give him the most wins on any course.
U.S. Open to return to Winged Foot: The U.S. Open is returning to Winged Foot, the New York club with a history of clutch moments and one unforgettable collapse.
The U.S. Golf Association will announce Monday that the West Course at Winged Foot will host the 2020 U.S. Open. Only two other courses — Oakmont and Baltusrol — will have held the national championship more times.
Winged Foot was designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1923 and hosted its first U.S. Open six years later, when amateur Bobby Jones delivered one of the biggest shots in championship history with a 12-foot putt on the final hole to force a 36-hole playoff. He won the next day by 23 shots over Al Espinosa.
The most recent trip to Winged Foot was memorable for all the wrong reasons — not for Geoff Ogilvy winning with a superb up-and-down from below the 18th green, but for Phil Mickelson blowing his best chance to win the U.S. Open.
Hedwall wins New South Wales Open: In Sydney, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall won the New South Wales Open on Sunday, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over defending champion Lydia Ko of New Zealand.
Hedwall finished at 13-under 203 on the Oatlands course. Ko, the 15-year-old amateur who won the Canadian Open last year, shot a 69.