Germany’s Stephan Jaeger heads into Saturday’s final round of the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines with a one stroke lead ahead of a trio of fellow Europeans.
Jaeger, who shot one-over-par 73 on the South Course, sits on 11 under for the tournament with France’s Matthieu Pavon and Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard both a shot back.
Belgian Thomas Detry led going into the 18th hole but he found water and was left with a double-bogey and a round of 73, two strokes behind Jaeger.
The 34-year-old from Munich has yet to taste victory on the PGA Tour. He has six wins on the secondary Korn Ferry Tour but said that won’t be much to lean on as he tries to hold on to his lead on Saturday.
“It’s great to have some past success, but that doesn’t really get you anything. I’m going to feel it tomorrow, I’m going to be nervous,” he said.
“It was nice to get some of those nerves out today. I felt like for me internally I handled it really well,” he added after a round which saw him make five birdies, including on the 18th, but six bogeys.
“Super happy with how mentally kind of attacked the golf course in different places now. I didn’t have my best stuff today, so I’d love to putt a little better, hit a little more fairways tomorrow,” he said.
Detry paid the price for a cautious approach on the par-five 18th, as he put his third shot on the edge of the green and watched it roll agonisingly down the bank and into the water.
“It’s been a very long day. I think we played in five hours 45 minutes, I had a little bit of mud on the ball, the lie wasn’t perfect, light was … it was starting to be dark.
“There was a couple of different factors that were not in favour. Obviously short is a no-go. So we decided to be smart and there we go, I got punched in the face,” he said.
“Ive been working on a lot of things mentally as well and I feel I’m doing everything the right way and it still seems to happen,” he added.
While Detry looked distraught at his misfortune on the final hole, the tournament remains wide open for him and the large chasing pack.
A total of 17 players are within four shots of the lead after what was a gruelling, high-scoring day littered with bogeys.
Pavon, who shot an even-par 72 with three bogeys and three pars, managed his round well, finishing with six straight pars and said it had been a struggle.
“It is tough out there,” he said. “Even yesterday I had a good round, but that was tough. The rough is thick, the wind switched a little bit, it brings some north wind today, it was a little bit cooler, too, windier.
“Overall, it was tough to catch the fairways, it was streaky out there. Also, the greens, we’ve been playing on them for three days now, they got a little bit bumpy and they are quite fast, so it makes making some putts a little bit tricky.”
Hojgaard was close to joining overnight leader Jaeger at the top of the leaderboard but his birdie putt on the last lipped out.
“Hit a lot of good putts coming in and saved a couple good ones as well out there, which you have to do on a day like this,” he said. “I would have loved to hole the putt on 18. There’s a good chance tomorrow.”
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