Kyle Stanley overcame a double bogey early in Friday’s round by running off four birdies on the front nine for a 4-under 68, giving him a one-shot lead in the Farmers Insurance Open going into the weekend.
Brandt Snedeker, who first gained fame as a rookie at Torrey Pines when he shot 61 on the North Course, had a 64 on the North again to make a swift climb up to second. He is coming off hip surgery at the end of last year and made his season debut at the Humana Challenge last week by tying for eighth.
”I’m certainly surprised that I played this well this fast,” Snedeker said. ”Normally, it takes me a while to get the rust off. But my practice at home went really, really well. I was actually chomping at the bit to get out here because I knew I was playing well.
”Hopefully, that can happen through the weekend.”
Stanley, long off the tee and as polished as any of the PGA Tour rookies who won last year, was at 14-under 130 after playing the more difficult South course.
A tournament already missing Tiger Woods will have to do without hometown star Phil Mickelson on the weekend. He shot himself out of the tournament with a 77 on the South course in the opening round, and didn’t make nearly enough birdies on the North to make the cut. Mickelson had to settle for a 68, missing the cut for the first time in 10 years at Torrey Pines.
”We’re going to have perfect weather out here at Torrey, and I’d love to be playing,” Mickelson said.
Sang-Moon Bae, a PGA Tour rookie who is No. 34 in the world, had a 67 to match the best score on the South for the second round. That put him two shots behind at 12-under 132, along with Martin Flores, who also had a 67 on the South.
Hunter Mahan shot 65 on the North, while FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas had a 71 on the South. They were three shots behind.
The cut came at 2-under 142, and there will be another cut Saturday because more than 78 players are still around. That group includes Geoff Ogilvy, who birdied his last hole on the North for a 70, and Ernie Els, who was at 3-under 141.
Stanley goes about his work quietly. He prefers steady golf of fairways and greens, though there was a little too much excitement when his 7-iron from the rough went over the green, down the slope and into the hazard. He chipped to 5 feet and missed the putt, taking double bogey, effectively wiping out the two birdies he had made.
He followed that with a bogey from the bunker on the par-3 16th.
”I got off to a good start, and it was tough to take,” Stanley said. ”But you’ve just got to be patient out here.”
That he was. He had birdie putts on the last 11 holes he played and birdied all the par 5s. As a testament to his length, he hit his tee shot 346 yards on the par-5 ninth, and hit 2-iron from 270 yards.
”Not a very good one,” he said, though it left him an up-and-down from the bunker for one last birdie.
Stanley likes his chances, for no other reason than the South is long, and he is hitting his drives where he’s aiming at the moment.