Back at the scene of his first title, Jon Rahm will start on Sunday with another chance to win at Torrey Pines after a 65 on Saturday.
The Spaniard sits atop of a stacked Farmers Insurance Open leaderboard thanks to a chip-in and then holed out from 111 yards for eagle to start his round. Overnight leader Ryan Palmer trails by one.
Making up the final group? Rory McIlroy. The four-time Major champ hit a 5-iron from the bunker to 6 feet on the tough par-4 12th hole, hit his approach to 2 feet on the tough par-4 15th and two-putted for birdie on the 18th for a 67 that left him among those within three shots of the lead.
With those above him, Tiger Woods has little chance of picking up his record 83rd victory. Woods got within two of the lead at the turn and didn’t make another birdie in his round of 69. He had to make a 15-foot par on his final hole.
Rahm was at 12-under 204 as he goes for his fourth PGA TOUR victory, and 11th worldwide.
Woods was among 16 players within five shots of the lead, and Rahm knows from experience how momentum can change at Torrey Pines. He said having won here in 2017 will mean nothing to him Sunday.
‘The only thing it’s going to do is keep me focused, no matter how good I’m playing, knowing that somebody can come and do the same thing,’ Rahm said.
The third round started two hours late because of heavy fog, and even when the sun broke through, there wasn’t much clarity on the leaderboard with so many in contention.
McIlroy is playing for the first time since late November and didn’t appear to pick up too much rust during his break.
‘Even if you’re not making that many birdies but if you keep giving yourself chances, it’s one of these golf courses that you feel like you’re playing really well, you might be a couple under,’ McIlroy said.
‘That’s OK. No one else is going that low. Keep doing the same thing tomorrow and should be right there.”
Sung Kang (67) and PGA TOUR rookie Harry Higgs (69) joined McIlroy at 9-under 207, while the group at 8 under included Brandt Snedeker, who birdied his last two holes to salvage a 72.
One day after Woods opened with a four-putt double bogey, he rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt and was on his way. He finished his front nine with a sand wedge he spun back to 3 feet for his fourth birdie, closing within two of the lead. And then he drilled his driver down the 10th fairway.
‘Just never got anything going coming home,’ he said. ‘It was important to make that putt on 18.’