SAN DIEGO – Jordan Spieth turned out to be the star attraction Friday playing with Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines.
Spieth again showed game well beyond his 20 years with a 9-under 63 on the North Course, giving him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink going into the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Cink drilled a 3-wood from 280 yards onto the green at the par-5 ninth on the tougher South Course for a two-putt birdie and a 71.
Woods rarely gets upstaged at Torrey Pines, where his eight professional wins include the 2008 U.S. Open.
But in his first competition in six weeks, Woods hardly looked the part as the defending champion. He did not make birdie on any of the par 5s for the second straight day, and a three-putt bogey on the par-5 ninth hole on the North gave him a 71.
He was nine shots behind.
Phil Mickelson’s ailing back wasn’t much better, though Lefty plodded along and shot 73 on the South to finish eight shots out of the lead. Mickelson contemplated pulling out to rest his back, and said only that he would give it a shot today depending on how he felt.
It was the first time Spieth has played with Woods in a tournament – they played a practice round together at the Presidents Cup last fall – and the Texan felt and played as if it was any other round on the PGA Tour.
Then again, the first time he played with Mickelson, Spieth closed with a 62 at the TPC Boston last year, a round that led Mickelson to call Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples and lobby for Spieth to be picked for the team.
In both cases, Spieth was more interested with the score than the audience.
Any time you can shoot a lower score than a 66 or 65 and you can really get it deep and be in a zone and not worry about what your score is, ... that’s special, Spieth said. That’s proving that I can play my best golf when it matters on a PGA Tour venue. Each time you can do that, you get more and more confident that you can do it more often.
As for playing with Woods? He only shrugged.
Spieth grew up watching, idolizing and being amazed by Woods. But this was only a Friday.
They were both rounds that I needed to move up the leader board, he said about playing with Woods this week and Mickelson last year. They weren’t in the last couple groups on Sunday, so they weren’t to win. They were to get myself up and in a position.
Spieth was at 10-under 134 and will be in the last group today with Cink and Nicolas Colsaerts, who shot 67 on the South and was two shots behind.
I’m looking forward to playing with Jordan. I’ve never seen him hit a ball, so that will be fun, Cink said. It’s always exciting to see the young guys play. I’m playing really well. I’m really excited about golf right now and the way I’m playing. I’m having some fun out there and seeing a lot of good things.
The final two rounds will be on the South, which is about 600 yards longer and on Friday played more than 4 1/2 shots harder.
LPGA: In Paradise Island, Bahamas, Jessica Korda took the second-round lead in the season-opening Bahamas Classic, birdieing four of her last seven holes in high wind for a 7-under 66.
The 20-year-old Korda had an 11-under 135 total on Atlantis Resort’s Ocean Club course. She won the 2012 Women’s Australian Open for her lone LPGA Tour title.
Paula Creamer, playing alongside Korda, was a stroke back after a 65.
Feeding off Paula was good, Korda said. She made four birdies in a row after (starting with a double bogey), and it wasn’t like she wasn’t giving herself opportunities. It was birdie after birdie. It was awesome to play with somebody like that because they really do push you and keep making you try harder.
Michelle Wie and Monday qualifier Jenny Suh were tied for third at 9 under. Wie had a 65, and Suh shot 66.
Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zealander who shared the first-round lead with Meena Lee, was three strokes behind at 8 under after a 70. The fourth-ranked Ko is making her first start as an LPGA Tour member. She won the Canadian Women’s Open the last two years as an amateur and closed last season with a victory in a non-tour event in Taiwan in her second pro start.
Na Yeon Choi (68), Christel Boeljon (67) and P.K. Kongkraphan (69) also were 8 under.
EUROPEAN: In Doha, Qatar, Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain squandered a two-shot lead to finish tied with England’s Steve Webster on top of the leader board after the third round of the Qatar Masters. Cabrera-Bello shot a 1-over-par 73 to Webster’s 70 to lead by one at Doha Golf Club.
Adrien Saddier of France was the biggest mover with six birdies in his opening eight holes in a round of 64 to be tied in third place with South African Thomas Aiken (70) and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen (68) at 11 under.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie (69) is another shot further back at 10 under, and looking to become the first three-time Qatar champion.