Friday's golf: Viktor Hovland vaults into Farmers lead at wet Torrey Pines
San Diego — Viktor Hovland birdied his final for a 7-under 65 on Torrey Pines’ tough South Course on a rainy, miserable Friday, giving him a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Famers Insurance Open.
Hovland finished his round after play resumed following a suspension of about an hour due to wind and rain on the blufftop municipal course overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The 23-year-old Norwegian closed with a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth to reach 9 under.
Hovland leads a group of six at 8 under, including first-round co-leader Patrick Reed and Jon Rahm, who won this tournament in 2017 and finished second to Marc Fleishman last year.
Reed shot an even-par 72 on the South Course a day after firing an 8-under 64 on the easier North Course. Rahm shot a 5-under 67 on the North Course.
Also at 8 under were Tony Finau, who had a 5-under 67 on the North; Ryan Palmer, who carded a 2-under 70 on the North; Adam Scott, who had a 3-under 69 on the South; and Lanto Griffin, who shot 2-under 70 on the South.
The weather is supposed to clear up for the weekend rounds on the South Course. The course will host the U.S. Open in June for just the second time.
Hovland lives in Stillwater, where he played at Oklahoma State. He said he’s been practicing there recently.
“That’s helped me for this week. It got really cold, obviously raining and hail, so being Norwegian I think that also helps,” he said. “I just played really solid and made some putts.”
He had just one bogey, on the par-4 15th.
Hovland, who won the Puerto Rico Open last year for his first tour victory, said he has confidence going into the weekend.
“I think especially playing a tough course like the South Course, you can’t really fake it, especially in these conditions,” he said. “Playing a hard golf course and then playing well, that I think is what gives me the ultimate kind of belief that I played really well today. You just can’t really fake it. But it’s another day tomorrow and we’ve got two more rounds left, so it’s definitely not going to roll over and give anything to you.”
Rahm also had just one bogey. He said it was much more difficult Friday than the opening round, which was played in nice weather.
“Those fairways are narrow enough as it is. When you start adding the side wind, it’s just not fun,” Rahm said.
“I can’t really stress how hard it can get,” he added. “North is easier. South today is brutal, I mean absolutely brutal. Every shot counts out there. Even being on the fairway some shots are not easy and with this wind and rain coming in and out, for those who played the North today, we should be really fortunate to play that course today.”
Rahm shot a 3-under 69 on the South Course on Thursday.
Tyrrell Hatton bounced back from an opening-round 76 with eight birdies and an eagle for an 8-under 64 to easily make the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic and move into contention for back-to-back titles on the European Tour.
Hatton, who won in Abu Dhabi last week to move up to a career-high No. 5 in the world, was 4 under overall – six strokes behind second-round leader Thomas Detry (67).
Robert MacIntyre (68) was a shot back in second place, with Tommy Fleetwood (68) in a three-way tie for third with Justin Harding (70) and Kalle Samooja (68).
Holing out from a greenside bunker at No. 6 was one of the highlights of the second round for Hatton, who went out in the early afternoon group with the initial intention of shooting low enough to make the weekend.
At 8 under after 13 holes – helped by an eagle at the par-5 third hole – his goals changed and even Ernie Els’ course-record 61 looked under threat at Emirates Golf Club.
Hatton jumped 92 places and is in a tie for 23rd place.
The 28-year-old Detry, who is looking to claim his first title on the European Tour, has yet to drop a shot this week after successive 67s. He birdied Nos. 2 and 3 and also had a strong finish, picking up shots on two of his final four holes.
“I’m moving here in a couple weeks, so this is my new residence,” Detry said of Dubai. “So winning at home would be amazing.”
First-round leader Richard Sterne shot 74 and dropped into a tie for 12th at 6 under overall.