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 fired a 71 on the tougher South Course.
Woods rarely gets upstaged at Torrey Pines, where his eight professional wins include the 2008 U.S. Open.
But in his first competition in 6 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 back.
Spieth was more interested with the score than the audience in his first time playing a competitive round with Woods.
“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.”
Phil Mickelson’s ailing back wasn’t much better,
though Lefty managed a 73 on the South; he’s eight shots behind. He contemplated pulling out to rest his back, and said that he would give it a shot Saturday 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.
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 leaderboard,” 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 Saturday 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˝ shots harder.
Farmers Insurance Open
Leader: Jordan Spieth, 10-under 134
Right behind: Stewart Cink, 9-under 135; Nicolas Colsaerts, 8-under 136
Star watch: Phil Mickelson 8 shots back (2-under 142), Tiger Woods 9 shots behind (1-under 143)
TV: Third round, 2 p.m. Saturday, CBS