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January 28, 2013

Woods in command at Torrey Pines

SAN DIEGO — The fog lifted Sunday and revealed a familiar sight: Tiger Woods in command at Torrey Pines.

Despite finishing with a bogey on the easiest hole of the back nine, Woods began to pull away from the field with a 3-under 69 in the third round to build a four-shot lead in the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods has only lost twice on the PGA Tour in 40 previous times that he has held the outright lead through 54 holes.

Because fog wiped out all of Saturday, players were going as long as daylight allowed before returning Monday to complete the tournament. Woods, who was at 14-under 202, was likely to get in about six holes before darkness, and he didn’t bother switching to a red shirt for the start of the final round.

Brad Fritsch, a PGA Tour rookie from Canada, had a 70 and was at 206. Erik Compton finished birdie-eagle for a 71 and was alone in third, five shots behind.

Asked about trying to chase Woods, Compton started laughing.

“I’m trying to chase myself,” he said.

Woods has won seven times at Torrey Pines as a pro, including a U.S. Open, and another win Monday would give him the most wins on any course.

The tournament staff followed the final group along the back nine, ready to change the hole locations to get ready for the final round. Players had about 30 minutes to get something to eat and hit a few balls before going right back out.

Woods had superb control of his tee shots and was rarely out of position on a day that began under a light drizzle and soon gave way to patchy clouds and clear views of the Pacific surf below the bluffs.

Starting with a two-shot lead, he stretched that quickly with a tap-in birdie on the second hole and a beautiful tee shot to a left pin on the downhill par 3 to about 4 feet. The South Course played even longer with the soft conditions, and only seven players broke 70. Aaron Baddeley had the lowest score of the round with a 68.

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