Justin Rose reacts to his birdie putt on the 11th hole on the South Course during the third round of the the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 26, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
By John Strege
LA JOLLA, Calif. — This is how you would script the final round of any tournament, even a major, if it were up to script writers, which it isn’t, hence the one glaring omission.
Tiger Woods won’t be part of the cast.
Woods largely is still in the wishful-thinking stage of his comeback, as two spectators noted with their red headwear on Saturday. The caps featured the words, “MAKE TIGER GREAT AGAIN.”
Maybe in time, but the time isn’t now. He’ll enter the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open tied for 48th, 13 shots behind the leader Justin Rose.
The leading man, too, is No. 1 in the World Ranking. Rose shot a 69 on the South Course at Torrey Pines on what is redundant, a sunny day on the San Diego coast. He’s 18-under par through three rounds and is threatening the tournament scoring record of 22-under.
Rose is three ahead of a former No. 1, Adam Scott, and four ahead of potentially a No. 1, Jon Rahm, who won here two years ago.
And yet another former No. 1, Rory McIlroy, is tied for sixth, though he’s seven shots in arrears and likely has too many good players between him and the trophy presentation.
It is an all-star cast, though his lead might be too prohibitive given the way Rose is playing on a difficult course, Scott suggested, notwithstanding Rose playing his final four holes in two over.
“He’s just playing too good,” Scott said. “He’s done that right from Thursday. He’s the number one player in the world. He’s played well for over two years. He’s feeling it. He wants to take advantage of all of his good golf and that’s why he’s running away with this thing.
“It’s almost all up to him [on Sunday], so that’s no pressure on me. But this is not a course I can go out and just fire at pins. It’s too easy to make big errors.”
So, he put the onus on Rose, that it’s his tournament to lose.
“Of course he does,” Rose said. “He’s deflecting from himself. I don’t think so. I think if you’re five or six ahead, then, yeah. I think that I expect Jon and Adam to come out and play well tomorrow, as well as the chasing pack. But one of those guys is capable of something in the mid 60s.
“So, yes and no. Obviously, if I go out and I shoot 68, then that’s a great round of golf, but a 68 on the South Course isn’t anyone’s to lose. You have to go and get it to do that. So my mentality isn’t quite that way. I think it’s going to take a good round of golf tomorrow to get it done.”
Rahm seconds that notion. Two years ago, he started the final round two shots off the lead, then posted a 65 that included an eagle on the last hole to win by three.
“The back nine at Torrey Pines is no joke,” Rahm said. “The fact that I shot six under a couple years ago, it’s a borderline miracle. It’s very hard to do that again.”