Thomas seizes Riviera lead as Woods surges


Although golf has traditionally been more focused on finesse over fitness, this may well come down to a strongman contest.

Woods, playing with Peter Malnati and Cody Gribble, will pick up his round on the par-5 17th, where play was called with his third shot just off the front of the green, 33 feet from the pin.

Although he got hot on the greens at the start of the third round when he went birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, he was disappointed in his putting overall. "So I'm playing the weekend and I get two more rounds to kind of get after it".

When they finally began their third rounds in fading light, Scott's birdie at the first was surpassed by Thomas, who holed from 12 feet for eagle after nearly pitching his second in the cup, and both will resume halfway down the third when play restarts early on Sunday morning.

The more likely forty-something to make a move on Sunday is Tiger Woods - who played a five-hole stretch, albeit over four hours, in 6 under par. Both hit their tee shots on the next hole, wanting to get in as many holes as possible in superb conditions and to keep Sunday even a little bit shorter.

The seven holes Woods completed had the gallery in a frenzy.

'I got exhausted; there's no doubt, ' Woods said. "I didn't have four three-putts out there". Woods, who has not missed a cut since the U.S. Open, has missed 15 of his 19 PGA Tour cuts starting in 2010 and missed two in 2018.

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Thomas posted eight birdies during his second round, including four in a row from 14-17 that were sandwiched by his two bogeys.

"I can hit the ball as hard as I did on 9, and I cannot clear the bunker like Rory did with a toe shot", Woods said. "It's just going to be a lot of walking and the last couple days it's definitely testing the body".

"It just is such a long day", Thomas said.

"So far I'm feeling pretty good about things", Scott said.

"It's going to be a tough day for all of us and one that we're going to have to fight through".

Thomas shared the halfway lead with Adam Scott on 11 under and managed to complete only two holes of their third rounds before play was suspended, while McIlroy surged into contention with a superb 63 before Woods made a spectacular start to round three. The Australian might have the only advantage given the week's weather challenges having won the 2005 Genesis Open after the event was shortened to 36 holes because of rain, and officials had to create a makeshift hole around puddles for a Monday playoff. He drained a five-foot putt for birdie on No. 10 after a attractive chip out of the left rough. "It's a great day to get your rhythm early and make a move ... hopefully by the middle of the final round you've taken a whole bunch of guys out of the equation".