Adam Scott has put himself in a position to have a “crack” at becoming the second Australian in as many years to win the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, but it could have been so much better.
The former world No.1 took the outright lead at 11-under when he made birdie on the par-5 13th but bogeyed three of his final five holes to sign for an even-par 72 that left him in a share of third at eight-under – two shots off the leaders.
Starting moving day a shot off the pace in joint second, Scott began with a bogey in a topsy-turvy round that included an eagle, a double-bogey and six birdies.
The world No.23 – in only his second appearance at Torrey Pines after finishing second in 2019 – said a 15th win on the PGA Tour is in reach if he takes his chances on Sunday.
“Yeah. I mean, I had 72, it felt like 80 at one point and it felt like it was going to be 67 at one point,” Scott said.
“It’s a hard golf course and I got a little out of sorts coming in there, which is disappointing, but I’m a couple back and got a chance tomorrow… It can turn around quick.
“There’s opportunities if you hit good shots and you get penalised if you hit bad ones. So I’ve got to find a bag full of good ones tomorrow.
“I’m looking forward to having a crack at it.”
Cameron Davis is next best of the Australians at four-under after a 71 while Marc Leishman, the defending champion in San Diego this week, is in a tie for 27th a shot further back after a 72.
Patrick Reed was involved in a rules controversy on his way to share of the lead with Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz going in to the final round.
Reed’s second shot on the par-4 10th found the rough and he moved it believing it was “embedded into the turf”, on the damp course due to rain on Friday, before calling over an official.
The official deemed it had been embedded – although subsequently a TV replay showed the ball bounced once before settling into the rough – allowing Reed a free drop.
“When all comes to push and shove, we felt like we did the right thing and the rules official said we did it absolutely perfectly,” Reed said.
He went on to save par on his way to a 70 to join Ortiz – who stormed up the leaderboard with the day’s best round of six-under 66 – at 10-under.
World No.2 Jon Rahm (72) and half-way leader Viktor Hovland (73) are among the five-man group tied for third with Scott while Rory McIlroy is one of four players at seven-under after a round of 70.