Jon Rahm of Spain claimed his first victory on the PGA Tour in the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and he’s put himself in position to do it again.
The third-ranked Rahm posted a bogey-free, 7-under par 65 on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course www.torreypinesgolfcourse.com in La Jolla to take a one-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer heading to the final round.
“The only thing (coming from behind to win three years ago is) going to do is keep me focused, no matter how good I’m playing, knowing that somebody can come and do the same thing,” said the 25-year-old Rahm, who has won 10 times as a pro, including three times on the PGA Tour.
“I was really focused on my round today and played really well, getting up-and-down for some pars on the back nine. Playing a bogey-free round is always great, especially here. I drove the ball well, but wasn’t very sharp with my iron game and had to be sharp with my short game.
“I haven’t teed off with the lead in the final round for a while, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Rahm, who teamed with Palmer to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans two-man team event last year, holed a 21-foot birdie putt on the first hole and holed his second shot for an eagle at No. 2 to kick-start his round, posted a 54-hole total of 12-under 204.
When he won at Torrey Pines three years ago, Rahm made two eagles on the back nine, including a 60-foot putt on the last hole to claim the title by three shots.
Palmer, who held the 36-hole lead after shooting 62 in round two on the North Course, could managed only a 71 in round three on the South, but sank a crucial 11-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to stay close to Rahm.
Second-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who can take the top spot in the World Golf Rankings from Brooks Koepka with a victory, collected three birdies on each nine in a 67 and is three shots back in a tie for third with Sung Kang of South Korea, who birdied two of the last three holes for his own 67, Cameron Champ of Sacramento, who made a nine-foot eagle putt on the last hole for a 68, and Harry Higgs, who had a 69.
“Even if you’re not making that many birdies but 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,” who won the Tour Championship last season to claim the FedEx Cup.
“That’s OK. No one else is going that low. Keep doing the same thing tomorrow and I should be right there.”
Brandt Snedeker, who won the Farmers in 2012 and 2016, salvaged a 72 with birdies on the last two holes and is four down in a tie for seventh with Tony Finau (68), Patrick Reed (70), Tyler McCumber (68), Marc Leishman of Australia (68) Sebastian Cappelen of Denmark (71) and J.B.Holmes.
Sixth-ranked Tiger Woods, who has won eight times at Torrey Pines including the 2008 U.S. Open, was within two strokes of the lead after making four birdies on the front nine, but had to make a 15-foot par putt on the final hole to shoot 69 and is five behind in a tie for 14th.
“Just never got anything going coming home,” said Woods, whose next victory will break a tie with Sam Snead for the PGA Tour record of 82 titles. “It was important to make that putt on 18.”
Also in the tie for 14th is Bubba Watson, the 2011 winner at Torrey Pines, who capped his 69 with a 16-foot eagle putt on the final hole.
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