While the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open won't wrap up until Monday, the final result may be well in hand by Sunday evening at Torrey Pines. That's because at 15-under, Tiger Woods now holds a six-shot lead over the field, as he steadily increases the margin on the back nine of his third round.
After missing a short birdie putt on the par-5 ninth to make the turn with a relatively disappointing par, Woods buckled down and picked up a birdie on No. 10. The birdie came as Nick Watney made back-to-to-back bogeys, instantly widening a two-shot lead back to four shots. Tiger missed a five-foot birdie putt on the gettable ninth hole, but on No. 10, he poured it into the center of the cup from nearly the same distance.
The big week for Woods has largely been set up by his short game, as he's been repeatedly sticking his wedges to inside 10 feet. While he missed the opportunity on No. 9, he ensured he'd pick up a birdie on the next par-5 he faced -- No. 13. It's a long 600-plus-yard hole to begin with, and a wayward drive right made it a certain three-shot par-5 for Woods. But from 113 yards out, Woods lofted his approach shot high into the middle of the green, spinning it back to just two feet from the hole. He tapped it in to move to 15-under, and the rout was on.
Tiger has steadily increased his margin while the rest of the field either drops shots or stalls out. At the start of the day, the seven closest players to Woods had a combined zero wins. Even if Woods had struggled in his third round, it appears he wouldn't have been in serious danger of losing his lead. He has made only one bogey so far, and with another par-5 ahead of him, it's likely his number will at least stay at 15-under.
Watney's back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12 removed the biggest, and only real, threat to Tiger's stranglehold on the top of the leaderboard. Holding a six-shot lead, the final 23 holes could be a mere formality on the march to a 75th career win for Woods. Can he match, or exceed, his eight-shot victory here in 2008?
For a live leaderboard, visit Golf.com.