Jon Rahm two back of Sam Ryder at Torrey Pines in bid for third straight win
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jon Rahm made an impressive climb up the leaderboard with a 6-under 66 at his favorite spot on Friday, which is now a move day in Torrey Pines, to finish within two shots after the third round Leader Sam Ryder draw the Farmers Insurance Open.
World No. 3 Rahm is 18 holes away from potentially winning his third straight start and taking over the No. 1 for the first time since March 20. He started 4-under on Friday and finished 14th, pulling a lone possession of second place after an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole, completing his second four-hole stretch at 5-under in two days.
While Rahm was heating up on the town course overlooking the Pacific Ocean on a beautiful, calm day, Ryder parried his final 12 holes for a 72 and missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th. Ryder was at 12-under 204 through 54 holes while Rahm was 10-under.
Tony Finau, 12 shots back starting his third round on the back nine, turned 4-under 32 and then potted his approach from 138 yards on the first par 4 for an eagle. He posted an 8-under 64, the best round of the week on the South Course, and moved up to third place, four shots down.
Sungjae Im finished in 18th with 67, five shots back along with Collin Morikawa (70), Max Homa (71) and Sahith Theegala (71).
Adam Hadwin (70) of Abbotsford, BC finished 2 under 32nd, and Taylor Pendrith (72) of Richmond Hill, Ontario finished 49th with straight par.
The tournament has been played Wednesday through Saturday for the past two years to avoid the finals going against the NFL’s conference championship games.
It’s been an adventurous three days for Rahm at Torrey Pines, where he earned his maiden PGA Tour win in 2017 and won the US Open for his maiden Major in 2021.
Rahm said Torrey Pines has been his favorite spot since “before I even did anything, really. This is a wonderful golf course. That obviously corresponds to my strengths and I think because I like it so much I did very well here.”
Rahm finished 116th after playing the opening round 1-73 on the South Course. He was one of the cut line with five holes remaining on his second round on the north course in the Winds of Santa Ana on Thursday before making an eagle and three straight birdies. He has played his last 23 holes in 11 under.
The Spanish star played the front nine on the South Course, which will host the final two rounds, in 5-under-31 on Friday thanks to three straight birdies and then the Eagle on 9.
He said his second shot on the ninth, a tie from 289 yards, “was already a contender for me for the best shot of the year. I was just hoping to catch it in the middle of the green but I mean I tattooed that 5 wood and I ended up with 10 feet for Eagle which you don’t really expect on this back pin but I ended up putting me in a great situation and made the putt.
“I’m a very aggressive player by nature, so nothing really changes,” said Rahm, who won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua three weekends ago and The American Express in the Coachella Valley last weekend. “I kind of stay true to myself and the difference between that hole and the next four holes was just making better swings at the right time.”
Rahm is fighting for his 10th win on the PGA Tour. Ryder, 33, is looking for his first.
“To be honest, I’m pretty calm,” Rahm said. “Yes there is pressure for obvious things but I’ve won my last two tournaments so I have no reason not to believe I can do it again. I’ve been swinging it beautifully all week and it’s getting better and better so hopefully tomorrow I can do what needs to be done.”
Ryder shared the lead with two others after the first round and was three shots ahead after 36 holes.
“Today the pressure is just different,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I had to try to move or push anything, you know, so I didn’t panic when I bogeyed on 2 and I just adjusted to the round and got a feel where I was with my swing and my game. Starting the day with a head start, ending the day with a head start, pretty happy.”
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