Top trio hot on easier Torrey Pines course

Patrick Reed's caddie on all fours at the fifth green to help line up his putt in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Thursday. The American is tied with Swede Alex Noren for the lead at eight under.
Patrick Reed's caddie on all fours at the fifth green to help line up his putt in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Thursday. The American is tied with Swede Alex Noren for the lead at eight under.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Patrick Reed's caddie on all fours at the fifth green to help line up his putt in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Thursday. The American is tied with Swede Alex Noren for the lead at eight under.
Patrick Reed's caddie on all fours at the fifth green to help line up his putt in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Thursday. The American is tied with Swede Alex Noren for the lead at eight under.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SAN DIEGO • Patrick Reed and Sweden's Alex Noren blitzed the North Course on Thursday to fire duelling eight-under 64s and share the lead after the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Scottie Scheffler was alone in third spot after shooting a 65, also on the North Course.

Fifteen players carded four under or better in the first round, with 13 of those rounds on the easier North Course.

Peter Malnati and Ryan Palmer both shot 66 on the highly regarded South Course to join a group of 12 tied for fourth place at six under.

Players swopped courses for yesterday's second round, with rain, wind and thunderstorms expected along the California coast, while the final two rounds are set for the South Course.

Reed, who started his round on the back nine, had four birdies on each side.

He birdied his first three holes and closed with birdies on his 14th, 15th and 16th holes of the day before registering pars on the eighth and ninth and played the four par fives in three under.

"You know, kind of put myself in position today where I had to go out knowing that we're going to get pretty good conditions, go out and try to make as many birdies as possible to be able to kind of weather the storm tomorrow," the 2018 Masters champion said.

"I was able to kind of get off to a hot start and just kind of ride momentum going on through the rest of the round and continue attacking that golf course since that's the one you're able to attack."

Noren was at four under through eight holes after an eagle at the par-five 17th hole and posted his lone bogey at No. 18 before going five under on his final nine holes.

"I hit it very good with my irons and wedges, putted very good," he said.

"The driver wasn't as good as I wanted it, but out here (on the North Course) you could get away with it if you manage to get out of the rough, hit the greens anyway. But I definitely need to shape up the driver for tomorrow."

Defending champion Marc Leishman of Australia shot a 71 on the South Course and was in a tie for 69th place, alongside Phil Mickelson, the five-time Major champion and three-time winner here.

Seven-time champion Tiger Woods, who captured four consecutive titles from 2005, is not participating after undergoing back surgery.

The Torrey Pines South Course also is the site of the US Open in June and is one of six PGA Tour events to be played in California this year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2021, with the headline 'Top trio hot on easier Torrey Pines course'. Subscribe