LOS ANGELES: World quantity three Jon Rahm fired a bogey-free six-under par 65 on Saturday to seize a three-shot lead at Riviera, the place Tiger Woods thrilled followers with a four-under par 67.
Rahm, who can return to primary with a victory, hit simply 5 of 14 fairways however moved previous in a single day chief Max Homa, placing himself in place to seize a 3rd US PGA Tour title of 2023.
His 15-under par complete of 198 put him three away from Homa, whose two-under par 69 for 201 saved him one in entrance of Keith Mitchell, who additionally posted a 69.
“It’s an awesome spherical of golf,” Rahm mentioned. “Actually pleased with at the moment, heck of a spherical of golf.”
Rahm opened his spherical with a birdie on the first, simply lacking a 12-foot eagle try. He rolled in birdie putts from inside eight toes on the fourth, eighth and ninth.
He rolled in a two-foot birdie on the eleventh, to take the solo lead at 14-under.
Homa, who began the day with a one-shot lead, saved the strain on. He drained a 19-foot birdie putt on the third and added a five-foot birdie on the sixth. He tied Rahm’s lead with a birdie on the tenth and tied him once more with a seven-foot birdie on the thirteenth.
Homa faltered, nonetheless, with back-to-back bogeys on the fifteenth and sixteenth, and Rahm closed his spherical with a remaining flourish – draining a 23-foot birdie putt at 18.
“The one factor I used to be frightened about was getting that ball to the outlet,” Rahm mentioned. “I’ve hit that putt 1,000,000 occasions, I’ve seen that putt hit 1,000,000 occasions and all of us go away it only a couple, a pair rolls quick, so I simply wished to get it there. Felt good clearly making it, it’s an enormous bonus, proper?”
Rahm is looking for a 3rd title of the yr after victories on the Match of Champions in Hawaii and at La Quinta, California, in his subsequent occasion.
His scorching begin adopted a powerful autumn in Europe, the place he received a 3rd Spanish Open title in October and the DP World Tour Championship in November.
All of it has him in place to seize the primary spot from American Scottie Scheffler, who supplanted Rory McIlroy together with his Phoenix Open win final Sunday.
Whereas Rahm arrived at Riviera as maybe the most popular golfer on tour, Woods was a thriller coming into his first occasion since he missed the reduce on the Open Championship in July.
Nonetheless severely restricted by the appropriate leg accidents he suffered in a February 2021 automotive accident, Woods had barely made the midway reduce.
However he equalled the third-best spherical of the day behind Denny McCarthy’s 64 – which pulled the American right into a share of seventh, and Rahm’s 65.
Woods has performed simply three tour-level tournaments because the crash, ending forty seventh on the Masters final April, withdrawing from the PGA Championship after three rounds and lacking the reduce at St. Andrews.
“It’s the very best I’ve performed,” he mentioned of Saturday’s effort, which featured an eagle on the par-five first – the place his strategy from simply off the golf green appeared prefer it would possibly yield an albatross earlier than leaving him a three-footer for the eagle.
Woods mentioned there wasn’t that a lot distinction between Friday and Saturday, other than the putts falling “I’ve pushed it effectively the final three days, my iron play has been good,” he mentioned. “I made just a few changes at the moment and among the putts went in.”
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Woods is the host of the match, which options 19 of the world’s prime 20 all chasing a $3.6 million winner’s prize from a handbag of $20 million.
That prize cash is bumped up because of the match’s standing as one of many tour’s new designated occasions, designed to deliver the very best gamers collectively extra usually.
“You’re totally conscious the place Tiger is,” Rahm mentioned.