GORDON SEAY PHOTO
Sam Ryder kept his place atop the leaderboard for the third straight round, but he’ll have to do for one more day with third-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain to deal with.
The 33-year-old Ryder, seeking his first PGA Tour victory, shot a steady, even-par 72 and will take a two-stroke lead over Rahm into the final round of the 71st Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Club in La Jolla.
“I’m proud of how steady I played because the course conditions were very tricky,” said Ryder, whose only pro victories came in the 2017 Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour and the 2015 National Capital Open to Support Our Troops on the PGA Tour Canada. “It was hard to get the ball close and I made a lot of pars and several really good par saves.
“I haven’t been in this position before, but the most important thing I’m going to do is get some rest tonight, eat the same meals and do the same things I have been doing, the way I did it when I won on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I’m looking forward to having a chance to win tomorrow and I’m going to try to embrace the challenge, hoping it will be a long, fun day.”
Ryder, who opened with scores of 64-68, made a bogey on the second hole and his only birdie with a five-foot putt at No. 6 before reeling off 12 straight pars to finish 54 holes with a score of 12-under 204.
Rahm, who has won his last two starts and four of his last six, had four birdies and a 12-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole before making his last birdie with a 13-foot birdie putt in a 66 that included a lone bogey at No. 5.
“This week has been a lot different, with fans chanting, ‘three-in-a-row, three-in-a row,’ as I walk down the fairway,” said Rahm, who won the Sony Tournament of Champions and The American Express to start the new year after winning twice on the DP World Tour last year. “That’s on my mind, but I’m trying not to think about it too much.
“There wws not much difference from the 67 I shot yesterday on the North Course, because I made some early birdies and an eagle. I struck the ball well early and it doesn’t take much of that to get my confidence going.
“It gives me a chance to get it done again.”
Tony Finau holed out from 138 yards on his first hole and added six birdies in a bogey-free 64 that was the low score of the day and is four shots behind in solo third, while eighth-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal birdied the last hole for a 70 and is one more down in a tie for fourth with Sungjae Im of South Korea, who holed a 32-foot bunker shot for eagle at No. 18 in a 67; Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who made a 23-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole in a 71, and Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, who holed out from 69 yards for an eagle at No. 2 in another 71.
S.H. Kim of South Korea sank a five-foot eagle putt on the last hole to cap a 69 and is six strokes back in a tie for ninth with Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who made six birdies in a 67; Keegan Bradley, who birdied the last hole for a 68; Joseph Bramlett of Palo Alto and Stanford, who made three birdies on the back nine in a 67; Byeong Hun An of South Korea, who made a 33-foot eagle putt at No. 6 in a 71; Sam Stevens, who struggled to a 73, and Brendan Steele of Idyllwild and UC Riverside, who didn’t make a birdie in his 76.
Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State is tied for 15th after a 69 that included a single bogey, ninth-ranked Justin Thomas made three bogeys on the back nine in a 73 and is in a tie for 39th that includes defending champion Luke List, who had three late bogeys in a 73.
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