Dominant Tiger moves four ahead at Torrey Pines

Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:28pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Tiger Woods, looking sharp in every component of his game, revived memories of his former dominant self as he surged into a four-shot lead in the fog-delayed third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.

The former world number one, a six-times winner of the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, fired a three-under-par 69 on the ultra-long South course to put himself in a prime position to clinch his 75th victory on the U.S. circuit.

Woods, who began the day two strokes in front of the chasing pack after thick fog had allowed only five minutes of play on a frustrating Saturday at the coastal venue, mixed five birdies with two bogeys to post a 14-under total of 202.

At one point a commanding six shots ahead, Woods bogeyed the par-five 18th after finding a poor lie in a fairway bunker off the tee and a greenside bunker with his third shot to finish four ahead of Canadian Brad Fritsch (70).

Double heart-transplant recipient Erik Compton was a further stroke back after eagling the last for a 71 while fellow American and 2009 champion Nick Watney (71) was among a group of five players knotted at eight under.

However, Woods was in command at one of his favorite venues as he bids to win a third different PGA Tour event for a seventh time. He has already recorded seven victories apiece at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"I played really, really well," the 14-times major champion told reporters after hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation. "I putted really good. I hit the ball pretty good. It seemed like I was always in pretty good position."

His rivals will be well aware of his stellar overall track record on the U.S. circuit where he has gone on to win 49 times out of 53 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, including 14 of 15 in the majors.   Continued...

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods hits from a sand trap on the 18th green during weather delayed third round play at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California, January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake