LA JOLLA, US: Patrick Rodgers fired a flawless 67 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to join defending champion Brandt Snedeker atop the leaderboard at the US PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Rodgers had five birdies in a five-under round that left him on nine-under 207.
Snedeker, a two-time winner on the picturesque course hugging the Pacific coast near San Diego, had three birdies and a bogey in his two-under 70.
In 2012, Snedeker was seven strokes off the lead after 54 holes, before beating Kyle Stanley in sudden death. Last year, he was six strokes back through three rounds, before winning in a Monday finish.
“I definitely like my odds better than the last two times I won at this place, that’s for sure,” Snedeker said. “So (I’m) in the right frame of mind, exactly where I kind of want to be in the last group here.”
The leading US duo were one stroke clear of Taiwan’s Pan Cheng Tsung, who carded a second straight 69, and American Tony Finau, who signed for a 67.
Overnight leader Justin Rose of England carded a one-over 73 to head a group of eight players on 209, alongside Americans Stewart Cink, Pat Perez, Harris English, Ollie Schniederjans and Robert Streb, Australian Marc Leishman and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt.
Twenty-three players are within four shots of the lead.
The jam-packed leaderboard promised final-round fireworks on Sunday, despite the fact that 14-time major champion Tiger Woods and a host of other marquee players failed to make the cut on Friday.
Woods, playing his first full-field PGA event in more than a year after a long recovery from back surgery, missed the cut by four strokes.
World number one Jason Day of Australia, third-ranked Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler also failed to make the weekend.
“This is obviously a tough golf course,” said Snedeker, who is trying to become the first repeat winner at the event since Woods won it four straight times from 2005-08.
“There’s a lot of guys within a couple shots of the lead so it doesn’t really mean a whole lot, but this place for whatever reason seems to bring out my best and I am excited about the challenge tomorrow will present because I played great today.”
Rodgers, in his second full season as a US tour member, is seeking his first win, but after a standout collegiate career and to improve on his previous best PGA finish of a tie for second at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2015 — the same year he nabbed a title on the Web.com developmental tour.
“I feel very comfortable in contention,” he said. “It’s probably when I’m the most comfortable out here.”