Tiger Woods made one last birdie as the rain picked up strength Friday, and what he left behind was a gloomy weekend forecast for everyone else at Torrey Pines.
He had a two-shot lead at the San Diego tournament he has won six times. He is driving the ball long and straight, just what he needs to handle the par 5s — which he has played in 9-under par.
And when it comes to experience, he has a 74-0 advantage in PGA Tour wins against the next seven guys on the leaderboard.
Woods knows better than to chalk up another win in the Farmers Insurance Open, so when asked about his name atop the leaderboard after a 7-under 65 on the North Course, he was quick to point out, “We have a long way to go.”
Even so, this had all the trappings of another Tiger show at Torrey Pines, where he also won the 2008 U.S. Open, the most recent of his 14 major championships.
Woods didn’t miss a shot during a four-hole stretch around the turn on the North Course that included a 5-iron to 5 feet for eagle and a wedge that one-hopped off the pin to set up birdie. It carried him to a two-shot lead over Billy Horschel going into the weekend.
Asked whether he played better when everything was going well in his life, Woods waited out the long question with a short answer.
“I feel good right now,” said Woods, who was at 11-under 133. “I’m leading the tournament.”
Horschel, who had to go back to Q-school last year to get his card, had a 69 on the South Course to get into the final group.
“It’s a good day and I’m excited about tomorrow — I get to play with Tiger,” Horschel said. “I found out when I tapped in for par. I realized he was leading and I was in second place. So yeah, looking forward to that.”
And while Woods’ lead looks ominous for everyone else, he has a 34-10 record when he has at least a share of the 36-hole lead, and he has failed to win four of the last six times from that spot.
“Vintage @TigerWoods today,” Dustin Johnson said on Twitter after falling eight shots behind.
England’s Chris Wood shot an 8-under 64 for a three-stroke lead over New Zealand’s Michael Campbell and two others going into the final round of the Qatar Masters in Doha.
Wood started the day two shots behind Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer but moved up with five birdies on the front nine en route to a 15-under 201 total.
He had an eagle at the 10th when his second shot landed 10 feet from the pin.
“I played pretty nicely,” Wood said. “I wouldn’t say it’s one of my best.”
Fellow Englishman Simon Khan also shot a 64 to tie Campbell (68) and Sweden’s Alexander Noren (66) for second.
Garcia (70) fell into a tie for fifth, while Kaymer struggled to a 72 and fell six shots behind.