Sam Ryder Leads Farmers Insurance Open in Pursuit of First PGA Tour Victory


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Sam Ryder holds a 3-stroke lead over fellow American Brendan Steele entering Friday’s third round of the PGA’s $8.7 million Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Ryder entered Friday’s second round tied for the lead with rookie Brent Grant and Englishman Aaron Rai, then birdied five holes and bogeyed the par-4 fourth hole on the South Course to go to 12-under 132 for two rounds, taking a 36-hole lead or co-lead for the first time in his 147 PGA Tour starts.

The 33-year-old had never held or shared a lead after any round on the tour before Wednesday, when he tied his career-low first-round score with an 8-under 64 on the North Course.

“I’m just doing everything pretty solid,” said Ryder, who has 15 top- 10 finishes on the PGA Tour, including twice tying for second. “I’m driving it well. My iron play is really good, so I feel like if I put it in the fairway, I can attack.

“And I don’t think I really missed many shots today. I missed a couple fairways, but the irons have been really good.”

Five second-round leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the Farmers Insurance Open since 2000, most recently Justin Rose in 2019.

Playing in the same threesome as Ryder, Steele shot a 2-under 70 with five birdies and three bogeys.

“Some weird stuff, but I played really nice and excited to be where I am going into the weekend,” said Steele, who began the round one stroke off the lead after firing a 7-under 65 on the North Course Wednesday.

When asked what he meant by “some weird stuff,” Steele responded, “Just stuff that you wouldn’t expect out there.”

“I was trying to think about where the wind was going to be coming from last night and like how some of the holes were going to be playing. I just wasn’t expecting like No. 8 to be so brutal or No. 3 to be playing so short or things like that.

“No. 6 was like, it was blowing about as hard as it did all day when we were on 6 and it was just crazy how hard the ball was going to hit up there. It’s one of those days where the weather has the full control of the ball, you just have to hang on.”

Santa Ana winds blew from the northeast at 15 to 20 mph, gusting up to 30 mph.

Jon Rahm moved from a 12-way tie for 116th in the 156-player field, nine strokes off the lead, to a six-way tie for 14th, eight strokes off the lead, following a round of 5-under 67 on the North Course, matching Tano Goya for the day’s low score.

Rahm began his round on the front nine, hitting birdies on the 10th and 11th holes and bogeying the 12th and 18th.

The Spaniard who is third on the Official World Golf Ranking parred each of the first four holes on the front nine, then eagled the fifth and birdied the sixth, seventh and eighth holes.

“Holes five through nine with or without wind is where you can take advantage of the course,” Rahm said after extending his streak of making the cut to 22 consecutive tournaments, the longest active streak on the tour. “There’s no difference between those holes or any other five, four holes you can pick throughout the round, it’s just kind of guessed with the wind right in all of them.

“I think maybe I was a little more aggressive after that second shot on six and got in the mentality of making birdies instead of being a little tentative, which is easy to do when it’s blowing as hard as it was blowing today.”

Rahm is seeking to be the first player to win in three consecutive tournaments on the PGA Tour since Dustin Johnson in 2017.

Goya is third, five strokes off the lead at 7-under 137 in pursuit of his first top-25 PGA Tour finish in his 14th start. The 34-year-old’s best finish came last week, tying for 26th in The American Express. Goya turned professional in 2007 began playing on the European Tour in 2009.

Grant is among six golfers tied for fourth, six strokes off the lead after shooting a 2-over 74 on the South Course, including a triple-bogey 7 on the 14th hole. Rai is among 12 golfers tied for 24th, 10 strokes off the lead after a 6-over 78 on the South Course.

Defending champion Luke List is also tied for 24th. The last player to successfully defend his title at the event was Tiger Woods, who won for four consecutive years from 2005-2008.

The field was reduced to 73 — the low 65 plus ties. The cut line was at even-par 144.

Players missing the cut included Will Zalatoris, who lost to List in a playoff in last year’s tournament.

Xander Schauffele, the second-highest ranked player in the field, made the cut with one stroke to spare with a 1-under 71 on the South Course, including a birdie on his final hole, to go to 1-under 143 for the tournament, 11 strokes off the lead. The San Diego State and Scripps Ranch High School graduate is ranked sixth.

For the second consecutive year, the tournament will conclude on Saturday, one day earlier than usual. The start was moved to Wednesday to avoid a conflict with Sunday’s telecasts of the NFL conference championship games, American television’s most-watched programming outside of Super Bowl Sunday.

Source: Consumer News and Business Channel