Sam Ryder maintained his lead at the Farmers Insurance Open Friday with top-ranked Jon Rahm nipping at his heels as a golfer who barely made the cut surged.
Ryder lead Rahm by two strokes and Tony Finau by four after the third round of play, which has shifted entirely to the South Course at the Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Finau, along with Murrieta native Rickie Fowler, just survived to play another day, then got hot Friday.
Finau shot an 8-under 64 to place himself firmly in contention in third. After being tied for 54th Thursday, he rose on the strength of an eagle on the first hole, and six birdies, including the final two holes.
Fowler, who hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in three years, moved up to ninth place, tied with five others at seven strokes back, with a 5-under 67.
Following Finau were four players tied for fourth, five strokes behind Ryder: Sungjae Im, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Sahith Theegala.
Ryder has held all or part of the lead for the tournament, but at even par in the third round, he opened the door for Rahm to gain on him.
“Starting the day with a lead, ending the day with a lead, pretty satisfied,” Ryder concluded to the Associated Press, noting that he didn’t panic despite a bogey on the second hole.
Rahm, ranked third in the world, shot a 6-under 66 to put pressure on Ryder ahead of Saturday’s final round. He had an eagle on the ninth hole and five birdies, along with one bogey on the fifth hole.
At stake for Rahm, currently ranked No. 3 in the world, is a shot at the top spot, and a chance to win three tournaments in a row.
“I’m pretty calm, honestly. Yeah, there’s pressure for obvious things, but I’ve won my last two tournaments,” Rahm told AP, referring to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua and the American Express event last weekend, “so I have no reason not to believe that I can do it one more time.”
Xander Schauffele, a San Diego State alum and Olympic gold medalist, continued his improved play after a poor opening round. He’s eight strokes back after a 3-under 69 in Friday’s round.
Victors will share a portion of $8.7 million in winnings for the tournament. The golfer who finishes atop the leaderboard will receive almost $1.6 million.