Germany’s Stephan Jaeger maintained a one-stroke lead going into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego as Ludvig Åberg and Will Zalatoris played themselves into contention.
The golfers who avoided the cut at the tournament, which finishes on Saturday after starting a day earlier than usual to avoid a clash with Sunday’s NFL playoffs, are playing the third and fourth rounds at Torrey Pines’ famed South Course.
Jaeger posted a one-over-par 73 to slip to 11-under, but he still found himself on top after a shakeup on the par-five 18th hole.
Thomas Detry of Belgium was alone in the lead at 11 under when his third shot at the 543-yard hole landed in the greenside water hazard. After a penalty stroke, he only managed a double bogey and fell to nine-under.
Jaeger, who had six bogeys and four birdies to that point in his round, stuck his third shot at the same hole inside six feet of the pin.
He converted the ensuing birdie putt to move up to 11 under, one shot clear of France’s Matthieu Pavon (72) and Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard (73). Detry also signed for a 73 and is alone in fourth.
“Super happy with how [I] mentally kind of attacked the golf course in different places now,” Jaeger said. “I didn’t have my best stuff [Friday], so I’d love to putt a little better, hit a little more fairways [Saturday]. But it’s golf.”
Jaeger, 34, is the world No 101 and has won six times on the Korn Ferry Tour but not on the PGA Tour yet. Should he win, he is projected to move to the top of the new “Aon Swing 5” standings and therefore qualify for next week’s signature event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Hojgaard, the 22-year-old who featured in Europe’s Ryder Cup winning team last year, is looking for a breakthrough win in the United States after three victories on the DP World Tour, including last November’s DP World Tour Championship.
“It’s easy on a day like this to get ahead and think, ‘Oh, we’ve got chances there,'” Hojgaard said.
“You’ve got to stay in the moment. I’ve done it before and now I’ve got a chance on the PGA Tour, so if it happens tomorrow or not, it isn’t really going to affect me too much. I’ve got my focus on a long process of it all.”
Detry called his double-bogey finish “really tough” but kept his head high.
“I just have to face adversity and just try to learn from it again, I guess,” Detry said. “More real things that you can learn from it again, you know. Yeah, I felt like I really did everything the right way on the last couple holes and it really didn’t pay off and [No. 18] was an expensive one.”
Three strokes off the pace at eight under are Trace Crowe (69), Jake Knapp (70), Taylor Montgomery (70), Joe Highsmith (71) and Canada’s Taylor Pendrith (69).
Will Zalatoris, playing in his third tournament back from a lengthy injury absence, was tied for the low round of the day as he shot his second straight 68 on Friday.
Having made five birdies along with just one bogey in the tough conditions, Zalatoris is among a dangerous group of players four shots of the lead on seven-under going into the final round.
Also in that group is European Ryder Cup player Aberg, who made birdies at the three holes preceding his last to climb the leaderboard.
Xander Schauffele is also at seven under after going round in level par, while Tony Finau (74) dropped two shots as he ended on the same mark.
Watch the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines live on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm on Saturday. Also stream the best golf and more sport with NOW.
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