SAN DIEGO —
Woods managed to stretch his lead with pars, though he was always on the attack because of his position in the fairway.
He missed a downhill birdie putt from 4 feet on the par-5 ninth, and then came back with a wedge that landed near the hole at No. 10 and spun back next to the cup before it settled 4 feet away for a birdie putt that he made.
He led by as many as six strokes until Fritsch birdied the last hole and Woods, playing in the group behind, ran into trouble. His tee shot rolled up near the lip of the bunker, and he advanced it 70 yards into deep rough. He swung hard through the thick, wet grass into a greenside bunker, and then missed his 8-foot par putt.
Still, it was an ominous sign.
One week after he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi — thanks to a two-shot penalty he received after his ground for taking relief from an embedded lie on the fifth hole when the rules didn’t allow for it — he looked good as ever.
Woods has a 49-4 record on the PGA Tour when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and it’s even more daunting when the lead is his alone.
The only two players to come from behind to beat him over the final 18 holes were Ed Fiori in the Quad City Classic in 1996 when Woods was a 20-year-old rookie, and Y.E. Yang in the 2009 PGA Championship a Hazeltine.
In worldwide events, Thomas Bjorn (Dubai), Lee Westwood (Germany) and Graeme McDowell (Target World Challenge) have made up deficits against him on the last day.
“I played well. I played really, really well,” Woods said after his third round. “It seemed like I was always in pretty good position.”