Published — Tuesday 29 January 2013
Last update 29 January 2013 12:56 am
SAN DIEGO: Due to the fog that wiped out an entire day of golf, the Farmers Insurance Open was never going to end on Sunday, even though Tiger Woods effectively ended it.
Woods walked off Torrey Pines with a six-shot lead and only 11 more holes between him and winning on this course for the eighth time in his pro career.
He drove the ball with superb control in the third round on his way to a 3-under 69 to build a four-shot lead after three rounds. He lost control with his driver in the fourth round and still managed three birdies in seven holes.
“All we can do tomorrow is go out and try to make him think about it a little bit and see what happens,” said Nick Watney, one of two former winners at Torrey Pines who faced the tough task of trying to make up six shots on Woods.
The other was defending champion Brandt Snedeker.
“I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads,” Snedeker said. “So I have to go catch him.”
Woods was at 17-under par for the tournament and will resume his round on the par-3 eighth hole.
Snedeker played 13 holes of the final round. Watney played eight holes. Both were at 11-under par.
Woods played 25 holes on Sunday. He started with a two-shot lead and tripled it before darkness suspended the final round.
“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 out.
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 when he stormed home to win. However 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 did a great job today of staying patient and playing good golf.”
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 US Open, and another win Monday would give him the most wins on any course. He also has seven wins at Bay Hill and Firestone. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times, but only four times on one course.
Woods attributed his lead to “the whole package.”
“I’ve driven the ball well, I’ve hit my irons well, and I’ve chipped and putted well,” he said. “Well, I’ve hit good putts. They all haven’t gone in.”