Tiger Woods may not have matched his own record of eight strokes for the 54-hole lead at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday. But for an unlikely bogey on his 54th hole, the 18th (his first-ever six on the par-5), Woods played like a man on a take-no-prisoners march to his 75th PGA tour victory.
Wayward tee shots on Nos. 17 and 18 led to par and bogey, respectively, and may have provided a small window of opportunity for those trying to catch the former No. 1. But the way Woods attacked the pins at Torrey Pines’ South Course for a 3-under 69 and a four-shot advantage over Brandt Snedeker and Brad Fritsch left little doubt he had his eighth win at Torrey Pines pretty much wrapped up.
Woods, coming off a missed cut at last week’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, was off to a rousing start to his U.S. golf season. Despite some scratchy play down the stretch of his morning round on Sunday, Woods got off to a fast start, with tap-in birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. He got the lead up to six shots at one point and, despite some late miscues, held on to a four-shot edge to start his closing 18.
With dense fog suspending most play on Saturday, Woods will have to wait until Monday to post his seventh regular-season title at Torrey (he also won the 2008 U.S. Open on the San Diego course). The only serious questions remaining were by how much Tiger would conquer the field, and whether he would change into his usual Sunday red (update: with a 30-minute lunch break between 18s, he didn’t).
Woods, by the way, has won 49 of the 53 times he has entered the final round of a tour event with at least a share of the lead. And those handicapping Woods’ odds of cutting into Jack Nicklaus record of 18 major wins may be interested to learn that in the six years between 1997-2002 in which Tiger has kicked off his season with a win, he has gone on to win majors in five of them.