Sport Golf

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Jason Day and Alex Noren to continue mammoth play-off battle at Torrey Pines as Tiger Woods reflects on comeback

Jason Day of Australia reacts after missing a putt on the 16th hole
Jason Day of Australia reacts after missing a putt on the 16th hole

Jason Day and Alex Noren remain in contention to claim the Farmers Insurance Open title as darkness suspended a tense play-off between the pair.

After round four, Ryan Palmer joined the Australian and Swede on the extra holes after they all completed regulation play at 10-under 278 at Torrey Pines.

Palmer was knocked out on the first par-five play-off hole after both Day and Noren were one shot ahead of their rival with a pair of birdies.

After that it was impossible to determine a winner after both players matched each other shot for shot for a total of five holes.

Day came within inches of lifting the trophy with a birdie attempt on the par-four fourth hole of sudden death, but eventually time was called as Day made a 6ft birdie putt on the fifth, matched by a 5ft birdie from Noren on the par-five 18th in the fading light.

Speaking as dusk fell, Day told the PGA Tour website: "Alex is playing some tremendous golf. To be able to go shot for shot there was pretty special, so I'm just going to try to get some rest tonight and I'll play all day tomorrow if I need to get the win."

Earlier in the day, Tiger Woods recorded his best finish in a full-field PGA Tour event since August 2015, carding four birdies and four bogeys in a closing 72 for a three under par total.

That left him inside the top 30 - his best finish since tying for 10th at the Wyndham Championship three years ago.

Defending champion Jon Rahm had work to do after slipping to 12th place at the start of day four, but a run of four bogeys on the front nine left him on five-over 77 and further down the leaderboard tied for 29th by the end of regulation play - and ending his chance to become world number one.

Noren has won nine times on the European Tour - six in the last three seasons - and will continue to chase his first PGA Tour title when play resumes on Monday.

Tiger Woods recorded his best finish in a full-field PGA Tour event since August 2015 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The former world number one had only completed four competitive rounds in the invitational Hero World Challenge - an event with no cut - since undergoing back surgery three times.

The 14-time major winner carded four birdies and four bogeys in a closing 72 for a three under par total at Torrey Pines, leaving him inside the top 30 - his best finish since tying for 10th at the Wyndham Championship three years ago.

Starting on the back nine, Woods was denied a first birdie of the day on the 13th when a spectator yelled during his backswing, visibly distracting the American who missed the subsequent putt.

However, Woods converted from 12 feet at the next and added further gains at the 16th and 18th - although wayward drives on the 15th and 17th led to dropped shots.

Woods hit fewer than a third of fairways over the week and after briefly reaching five under for the week with a birdie on the second, leaked tee shots to the right on the fifth and seventh saw him bogey both holes.

Afterwards Woods told the PGA Tour website: "I played a lot better today. It was tough conditions out there, it was tough scoring. I wanted to shoot something around 65; I thought that might be a play-off number. I was trying to post early and see what might happen."

Asked to grade his week's work, Woods added: "Very pleased, after not playing for a couple of years and coming out here on the tour and playing a solid four days.

"I fought hard for these scores, they weren't drive down the middle, hit it on the green and two-putt. This was a lot of putting."

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