Round 3 of the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open got all fogged up, forcing PGA officials to delay Saturday’s tee times 30 minutes six consecutive times. Eventually the entire round was delayed, one group got in a single hole, but the entire field was forced to early starts on Sunday. The PGA was hoping to get enough golf in so that they wouldn’t have to extend the tournament into Monday. Mother Nature wasn’t cooperative and the inevitable was conceded but that didn’t stop them from getting in as much golf as possible on Sunday.
Monday finishes at Torrey Pines should strike up memories of Tiger Woods last major championship victory, when he defeated Rocco Mediate in a playoff in the 2008 U.S. Open on basically one knee. Tiger has played Torrey Pines just once since then and finished tied for 44th, but this year it looks as if Tiger’s finally back to his winning ways. Tiger is looking for his 8th career victory at Torrey Pines and his 7th Farmers Insurance Open championship. Woods shot a 3 under 69 in the 3rd round to bring Tigers 54 hole total to 14 under and a 4 stroke lead on Canuck rookie Brad Fritsch. Woods was hitting the greens, 15 of 18 in regulation, and did so because he found 12 fairways in the 3rd round.
Tiger’s held the lead or at least a share of it, 53 times in his career and he’s won 49 of those times, with three of them coming at Torrey Pines. Tiger’s finish in 2011 was his only outside the top 10 in his previous 12 appearances at the Farmers and he has a scoring average of 68.64 in the final round. Tiger has only had the lead at the Farmers 3 times, in 2008 he led by 3 strokes but would set the record for largest margin of victory at 8. In 1999 and 2003 he led by just a single stroke, in his other 3 championships he trailed going into the final round.
Tiger would get through 7 holes and despite missing the fairways on his final 5 holes his round would be suspended to due daylight with him 3 under. He has played 61 holes and is currently at 17 under 6 strokes ahead of Nick Watney and last year’s champion Brandt Snedeker. Snedeker came from down 7 strokes to win the tournament last year but Retief Goosen is the only player to beat Tiger after trailing by 4 or more. Woods has just 11 holes left but has lowered his career score to 166 under par in 13 Farmers Insurance Opens. Monday is all but a formality it seems as if Woods is all but guaranteed to hoist that trophy in the afternoon. Woods leads the tournament with 20 birdies as well as scoring 2 eagles (he had just 4 from 2011-2012) and continuing to dominate the par 5’s.
Brad Fritsch was trailing Woods by just 4 at the end of 3 rounds but he was already thinking about next week. It’s Fritsch’s rookie season and he hasn’t guaranteed his place in many of the tournaments and if he doesn’t finish well in this tournament he would likely have to earn his spot by qualifying for it on Monday. Despite being paired with Woods for the final two rounds, the young Canadian is currently in 4th place at 9 under, sitting at 1 over through the first 7 holes of the final round. Casey Mittenberg was the final golfer in the group, shooting and even par 72 in round 3 and was even through his final round keeping him at 8 under on the tournament.
Brandt Snedeker shot a 65 in the opening round to take the lead but needed an extra 10 to finish the South course on Friday. He shot a 3 under 69 on that same course Sunday but charged into a tie for 2nd after going 4 under in the first 13 holes of his final round. Snedeker gained the most strokes by any golfer last season with his putter but has left more than a few out on the green this week. A couple of 3 putts on Sunday kept Brandt from making this competition a little tougher but he needs to gain over a stroke a hole in his final 5. Nick Watney’s in a similar situation sitting at 11 under but he has a few more holes than Sned to try and catch up. Watney is in a group with Josh Teater and Luke Guthrie just a hole ahead of Woods.
Tiger is hoping to break his own record for margin of victory and if he wins this tournament he is just 7 behind Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82. Tiger didn’t pull the red cardigan from his golf bag after making it back onto the 1st tee box to start the 4th round but I will be very disappointed if it doesn’t make an appearance Monday. Despite a monumental collapse it is likely Woods will win this tournament and the field at the Farmers Insurance Open should start thinking about next week’s Waste Management Open.