Golf: Rose wary despite being in control

England's Justin Rose plays his shot during the third round of the the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California, on Jan 26, 2019.
England's Justin Rose plays his shot during the third round of the the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California, on Jan 26, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • It may be only the halfway stage, but world No. 1 Justin Rose believes he has done a good job with his seven birdies in a six-under 66 to take a three-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama in the Farmers Insurance Open.

While Tiger Woods posted his second straight 70 to slip 11 strokes off the pace, Rose excelled on the Torrey Pines South Course to sit atop the leaderboard on 15-under 129, matching the best 36-hole score for a PGA Tour event at the venue.

Overnight leader Jon Rahm (72) of Spain headed a trio sharing third place on 134.

"The job was done today," said the Englishman, who has hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation in each of the first two rounds.

"I think 66 is apparently the joint low score for the two days. Anytime you equal that, you know you've gone out there and you've put a good round together.

"But I won't get ahead of myself right now."

He began Friday one shot behind Rahm and got going with three birdies in a row at the fourth, fifth and sixth holes on the South Course, one of two in use over the first two days of the tournament.

After his lone bogey of the day at the seventh, he saw a birdie try at the eighth lip out, but he moved into the lead at 12 under with a two-putt birdie at the par-five ninth, then rolled in a two-footer for a birdie at the 10th.

He then birdied the par-five 13th and rolled in a 24-footer for birdie at 16th to pad his lead.

American Billy Horschel, who raced into contention with five birdies in six holes on the front nine, saw his challenge fade with three bogeys on the back nine on the way to a 68. That left him tied with Ryan Palmer (67) and Rahm.

Japanese Matsuyama's 66 effort on the South Course included an eagle from off the green at the par-five sixth.

Needing to go low after an opening 70 on the South Course, Woods settled for the same on the North.

"I just couldn't get a putt to fall," said Woods, whose eight wins at Torrey Pines include seven Farmers Insurance Opens and a memorable 2008 US Open triumph that was the last of his 14 Major titles.

"A lot of lip-outs today... It's going to have to be a low and special weekend to have a chance."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 27, 2019, with the headline 'Rose wary despite being in control'. Print Edition | Subscribe