Woods surges clear

28/01/2013 07:21:34
Tiger Woods   (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods remained on course for victory as the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines went into a fifth day.

After fog remarkably wiped out all but five minutes of day three's play, the third round and a large chunk of the fourth was completed before darkness fell.

When that moment came, Woods was 17 under par with 11 holes to play, six shots clear of nearest challengers Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney.

Woods was two shots clear at the start of play and extended his lead with a three under par third round of 69, bettered only by Australian Aaron Baddeley with 68.

The World Number Two began his final round four clear, having won on 39 of the 41 previous occasions he has led outright with 18 holes remaining - though the quick turnaround meant he had not changed into his trademark red shirt.

Nor did he start in typical fashion. He sent his first tee shot way left and needed a good recovery shot to set up a par, and then hit his second tee shot on to the fringe of the sixth fairway and was fortunate to have a clear shot in, though even then he needed an excellent ten yard pitch to save par.

But he birdied the next two and gained another shot at the sixth before finishing with a par at the seventh.

Reigning champion Snedeker had spoken during yesterday's inactivity of the need to score low in today's extended play, and he certainly did so.

After also shooting 69 in the third round, Snedeker began his fourth with four birdies on the front nine and ended the day on 11 under par with five holes to play in the tournament.

Watney, the 2009 champion, could only manage 71 in his third round but was three under through eight to move in to contention on 11 under.

Canada's Brad Fritsch was nine under through seven but Woods' playing partner Casey Wittenberg dropped back from that mark after bogeying the seventh, failing to get up and down from a ridiculous position near the second tee.

Luke Guthrie, Josh Teater, Steve Marino and Erik Compton were also at eight under, with six players including Englishman Ross Fisher tied on seven under.