Patrick Reed and Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz took completely different roads Saturday, ultimately meeting atop the leaderboard at 10-under par heading into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
Reed and Ortiz hold a two-shot lead over a group of five that includes Sam Burns, Lanto Griffin, Spain’s Jon Rahm, Australia’s Adam Scott, and Norway’s Viktor Hovland.
Of that group in second place, Burns was the only one to shoot under par Saturday, delivering a 2-under 70 on a sunny but cool day after rain, wind and hail during Friday’s second round.
The day proceeded with some controversy after Reed picked up his ball at the 10th hole and called over a rules official to confirm that it was embedded in the rough and that he was entitled to a free drop. The drop was awarded drop and finished off his par on the hole, but television replays showed the ball bounced once before settling into the rough.
“When we’re out there, we can’t see everything and when that happens, you have to go by what the volunteers say, with what the rules officials say,” said Reed in a post-round interview on CBS. “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 ended up shooting a 2-under 70 in Saturday’s third round, after a 5-under 31 on the front nine, followed by a shaky 3-over 39 on the back that included a birdie at the par-5 18th hole. Following his free drop at No. 10, he bogeyed four of the next six holes.
Ortiz was a solid 2-under on the front, but scorched the back nine with a 4-under 32 that included birdies on four of the final six holes for his third-round 66. His round was helped by a chip in for par at the ninth hole.
“Yesterday was definitely tougher condition-wise, (but) today was a beautiful day,” Ortiz said. “I don’t think it gets any better than this anywhere. I took advantage of that, I hit the ball great and made a couple putts, and when you do that it normally is a good outcome.”
Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, will be in the hunt for his first victory since winning the WGC-Mexico Championship in February of last year. Ortiz has won just once on the PGA Tour, taking the Vivint Houston Open in November.
Scott had the lead late in Saturday’s round before faltering with three bogeys on last four holes to shoot an even-par 72. Griffin and Rahm also shot even par Saturday. Hovland, who had the lead after two rounds at 9-under par, finished 1-over for the day after birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 to move into the tie for third place.
“I had a 72 and it felt like an 80 at one point and it felt like it was going to be a 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 (Sunday).”
Saturday’s round and Sunday’s final round are on the Torrey Pines South Course, which also will be home to the U.S. Open in June. All competitors played one round on the North Course during the opening two days of the tournament.
A group of four tied for eighth place at 7-under par included Sam Ryder, Will Zalatoris, Ryan Palmer, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
Phil Mickelson, a five-time major winner, who has won this tournament three times, shot a 2-over 74 on Saturday after barely making the cut Friday. He is 1-over for the tournament and in a tie for 55th place.