Los Angeles, Jan 27 (AFP) World number one Justin Rose shook off two double bogeys to card a three-under par 69 and maintain a three-shot lead in the US PGA Farmers Insurance Open.
Six birdies and an eagle on the South Course at Torrey Pines saw England's Rose maintain his grip on the tournament with an 18-under par total of 198.
"I'm playing well and just need to keep producing," said Rose, whose 20 birdies this week are the most in the field.
"It would be a great way to start 2019."
Rose was three strokes clear of Australian Adam Scott, who had seven birdies and an eagle in his five-under par 65 for a 15-under total of 201.
First-round leader Jon Rahm of Spain was alone in third on 202 after a four-under 68.
American Doug Ghim followed on 203 and Talor Gooch on 204, with Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama heading a group of five players on 205 -- McIlroy after a 69 and Matsuyama, who started the day in second place, with a one-over par 73.
Rose led by as many as six strokes, but his second double bogey of the day, at the par-four 14th, trimmed the lead and he closed with a bogey at the par-five 18th, where his second shot from the left rough found the water.
Even with the mis-steps, Rose tied the 54-hole tournament record at 18-under.
Scott's 65 was the low round of the day and put him within striking distance in his first appearance at Torrey Pines since the 2008 US Open.
"It's a tough golf course, but if you ball strike it you can actually shoot a good score," said Scott, the 2013 Masters champion.
Rahm, the 2017 winner who opened the week with a sparkling 62, said he'll need something similar to have a shot on Sunday.
"You're definitely going to need something in the 60s to have a chance," the Spaniard said.
Tiger Woods, whose eight wins at Torrey Pines include the most recent of his 14 major titles at the 2008 US Open, is just looking to leave on a high note, having failed to gain any ground with a one-under par 71 that left him 13 off the pace.
Woods said he drove it well, but needed to improve his iron play and get some putts to drop to make his goal of reaching double-digits under par on Sunday, which would give him "something positive" to take into the rest of 2019.
"I've got to play a little bit better than I have," said Woods, who added that he needs to "drive it like I did today and hit my irons a little bit better and give myself plenty of looks.
"It's frustrating," Woods said, "because I'm hitting a lot of good putts and they're just not going in." (AFP) ATK
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