Woods took a commanding lead in the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday, shooting a 3-under 69, and then building his lead to six shots with 11 holes to play today when play was suspended by darkness.
“It was a long day,” Woods said of playing the third round and part of the fourth round on Sunday. “Overall, I’m very pleased that I was able to build on my lead.”
His standing is all but insurmountable. Barring a collapse of shocking proportions, Woods will earn his eighth career win at Torrey Pines. His record when he has the outright lead after 54 holes: 38-2.
Brandt Snedeker, the defending champion, is the only hope to prevent Woods from winning his first PGA Tour event of the new year.
“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.”
Woods didn’t bother wearing red Sunday, knowing the tournament wouldn’t end until today, when he surely will wear red. He won a U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and the venue would be the place where he has won the most in his career. He also has seven wins at Bay Hill and Firestone.
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“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.”
Woods had superb control of his tee shots and was rarely out of position on a day that began under a light drizzle and soon gave way to patchy clouds and clear views of the Pacific surf below the bluffs.
Starting with a two-shot lead, he stretched that quickly with a tap-in birdie on the second hole and a beautiful tee shot to a left pin on the downhill par 3 to about 4 feet. The south course played even longer with the soft conditions, and only seven players broke 70.
He missed the cut at Abu Dhabi last week after a two-stroke penalty, but has insisted his game was sharp. He has proved it to this point.
“As I said, I didn’t play that poorly,” Woods said of his short week in the Middle East. “I played well enough to be there on the weekend, and could have gotten two more rounds competitively, but I didn’t really play poorly. I thought I did a lot of good things. Just wanted to continue that this week, and I have.”