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Jordan Spieth takes the lead at Torrey Pines
Question of the Day
Spieth again showed game well beyond his 20 years with a 9-under 63 on the North Course, giving him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink going into the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Cink drilled a 3-wood from 280 yards onto the green at the par-5 ninth on the tougher South Course for a two-putt birdie and a 71.
Woods rarely gets upstaged at Torrey Pines, where his eight professional wins include the 2008 U.S. Open.
But in his first competition in six weeks, Woods hardly looked the part as the defending champion. He did not make birdie on any of the par 5s for the second straight day, and a three-putt bogey on the par-5 ninth hole on the North gave him a 71.
He was nine shots behind.
Phil Mickelson’s ailing back wasn’t much better and he withdrew Friday night because of muscle pain.
Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 on the South Course in the second round, leaving him eight strokes behind Spieth. Mickelson said after the round that he feared getting into bad habits by altering his swing to keep his back from hurting. This is hometown tournament and he said he wanted to keep playing.
His management company released a statement late Friday evening that Mickelson had decided to withdraw. Mickelson said he would talk to doctors to figure out the best course of action. He’s scheduled to defend his title next week in the Phoenix Open.
It was the first time Spieth has played with Woods in a tournament - they played a practice round together at the Presidents Cup last fall - and the Texan felt and played as if it was any other round on the PGA Tour.
Then again, the first time he played with Mickelson, Spieth closed with a 62 at the TPC Boston last year, a round that led Mickelson to call Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples and lobby for Spieth to be picked for the team.
In both cases, Spieth was more interested with the score than the audience.
“Any time you can shoot a lower score than a 66 or 65 and you can really get it deep and be in a zone and not worry about what your score is … that’s special,” Spieth said. “That’s proving that I can play my best golf when it matters on a PGA Tour venue. Each time you can do that, you get more and more confident that you can do it more often.”
As for playing with Woods? He only shrugged.
“They were both rounds that I needed to move up the leaderboard,” he said about playing with Woods this week and Mickelson last year. “They weren’t in the last couple groups on Sunday, so they weren’t to win. They were to get myself up and in a position.”
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