Zalatoris was the top scorer for the day with a 7-under 65
Jason Day and Will Zalatoris swept past Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Torrey Pines on Friday to share the third round lead at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Zalatoris shot the best round of the day with a 7 under 65 and Day shot a 67. They were at 14 heading into the final round, and Day shot a 67 to avoid conflicting with the NFL’s conference championship games.
Rahm and Aaron Rai were 13 and 14 respectively, while Thomas, Sungjae im and Cameron Tringale were one shot back. After an exciting moving day, there were 24 players within five shots.
Zalatoris rose from six shots behind after two rounds to move into contention for his first career PGA Tour win. However, his round could have been many strokes better if he had continued his impressive play. The 25-year old missed several birdie puts, including one within 5 feet. However, he remained in the lead with several other accomplished pros.
Zalatoris said, “Obviously, there are a lot of wonderful vibes here,” and he made his first PGA Tour career as a professional at Torrey Pines. “I think this is by far the best course for my game. Enjoy it, and enjoy whatever happens.
Day won a playoff to win the Farmers title in 2018, and finished his third round with four birdies on the last six holes. Day, an Australian ex-top-ranked pro, buried a 27-foot birdie putt at the 16th to get into contention. He also won the 2015 Farmers title.
Day said, “It’s nice being able to know I’ve done that on the golf course twice not only in regulation, but also in playoffs,” adding that Day has not won on tour since his playoff win in 2018. “But tomorrow is another day and you never know what lies ahead. I just need to take a rest tonight and get back into it tomorrow. Then, be patient.
Rahm recovered from a double bogey at the 10th hole and another bogey at the 12th. He finished the round with a 72 to remain in contention. This was where he won his first PGA Tour victory in 2017 as well as his first major win at the U.S. Open.
Rahm stated, “I played great,” Rahm added. Rahm said, “I feel like my performance was much better than what the score indicates.” There were only two holes that I struggled, and I probably gave too many back. Today is one such day at Torrey Pines South. Great golf. But I couldn’t seize the opportunity to play low.
Both Rahm and Thomas finished the front nine with spectacular birdie puts. Rahm’s putt was at nearly 38 feet. Thomas landed from 41 feet.
Thomas missed an 8-foot par putt at the 15th, and then took a penalty stroke at the 17th when his drive was out of bounds. He finished his 73.
After two rounds, Rahm, Thomas, and Adam Schenk were tied for the lead, but Schenk fell even more after a round 75.
Rai jumped in contention for his first PGA Tour win by finishing his 68 with back to back birdies. Six-time international winner, Rai is an Englishman and former Scottish Open champion.
Rai stated, “It’s always nice having the validation through results to be able to know that your game can compete and is good enough.”
Zalatoris started the third round with six shots to spare. He held out for eagle at 39 yards on Friday. Zalatoris made a birdie putt of 9 feet on the fourth but missed the green from within 15 feet on the fifth hole and 8 feet on seventh.
Zalatoris stated, “Today was my best ever driving a golf ball,”
Zalatoris saved par with a 40-foot shot from rough to within 4 inches on the 11th. He missed just a birdie putt at 17 feet on 12th. The 13th saw Zalatoris miss a 3-footer, a 12-footer, and a 16-footer. Zalatoris followed up his exceptional second shot on 17th with a poor miss from the rough from within 4 feet. However, he saved par by finishing his round in a bunker.
Zalatoris stated that “I think real the two that were left out there today, it’s just that I didn’t commit myself to playing outside of the hole.” “So, I believe that that’s something that will definitely tomorrow. Just commit to it and, hey, it bounces into. It bounces out if it bounces in.”