Stanley stays on fire, ties Tiger's course mark

Associated PressJanuary 29, 2012 

— Kyle Stanley overpowered Torrey Pines and opened a five-shot lead Saturday in the Farmers Insurance Open.

About the only regret for Stanley was missing a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have broken the 54-hole tournament record set by Tiger Woods in 1998, before Rees Jones beefed up the South Course for the 2008 U.S. Open.

Stanley still managed a 4-under 68, a spot alongside Woods in the record book at 18-under 198 and great position for his first victory.

Stanley's lone bogey came on the 12th, when he went just over the green, chipped to 6 feet and missed the putt. On the 526-yard No. 13, he blasted a tee shot so far down the hill that Stanley had only a soft 7-iron into the green, putting it 15 feet below the hole on the fringe for a two-putt birdie.

"Are you playing this as a par 4?" Sang-Moon Bae turned and said to him with a smile.

John Huh, a 21-year-old rookie who spent three years on the Korean Tour, and John Rollins each had 68 and were at 13-under 203. Charlotte native Bill Haas (70) and Bae (72) were another shot behind. Bae was 5 over through five holes until he ran off four straight birdies to start the back nine.

Brandt Snedeker, who started the round a shot back, went to tap in a 2-foot par putt on the seventh and was shocked when it made a horseshoe around the cup. He then missed his next five greens in regulation, and when he got home in two on the 13th, he three-putted. Snedeker had a 74 and fell seven behind.

"This is something you dream about as a kid," Stanley said. "But there's still one more round."

Elsewhere

Against the strongest field golf has seen in at least three months, Tiger Woods shot a 6-under 66 for a share of the lead with Robert Rock going into the final round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

A win would be the first time since August 2009 that Woods has won consecutive starts.

"It's fun when I'm able to control the golf ball like I did," he said.

Woods racked up six birdies during a bogey-free round. It was a memorable performance, mostly for his ability to hit fairways, tame the par 5s and sink clutch putts - including a 6-footer for birdie on the final hole.

"It just seemed like I didn't do a lot of things right but I didn't do a lot of things wrong today, it was just very consistent," Woods said. "You know, made a couple putts here and there. ... I stayed away from trouble and tried to keep the ball towards the fat side of some of these pins, and I think I did a pretty good job."

Woods finished at 11-under 205. Rock birdied his final two holes to join Woods in the last group along with Peter Hanson, who had a 64 and was two shots behind.

Also two back at 9-under 207 were Rory McIlroy, who had a 68, keeping the No. 3 player very much in the picture.

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