Brandt Snedeker KJ Choi Lead Farmers Insurance Open

By Les Bailey
Brandt Snedeker
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Two different courses, but the same result. Brandt Snedeker played the easier North Course at Torrey Pines, while K J Choi played the South Course, but both have the lead at the Farmers Insurance Open in LaJolla California. Snedeker and Choi shot matching seven under par 67s on Thursday afternoon to grab a one shot lead over eight players one shot back that includes Charles Howell, who lost in a playoff to Brian Gay in last week’s duel in the desert.

The South Course is between 600-700 yards longer, and plays about a stroke and a half harder, and was the site of the 2008 US Open where Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff that would be the last of his 14 major championships.

Snedeker, who is the defending champion at the Farmers open, put on a putting clinic as he birdied the first hole, and continued to impress throughout his bogey free round. The 32 year old FedEx Cup Champion who turned pro in 2004 is playing with the confidence of a player who is ready to win his first major championship. We’ll see how he does on Friday as he tackles the South Course. Brandt Snedeker won this event last year in a playoff after Kyle Stanley blew an eight shot lead.

KJ Choi had a great round, which included five birdies coming down the stretch in the last six holes. He made a bogey at the par 4 17th hole, but followed it up with another birdie to finish his round. Choi, who has eight victories on the PGA Tour, missed the cut last week at the Humana Challenge, and hasn’t won on the tour since the 2011 Players Championship.

Mike Weir shot a six under 66 on the North Course on Thursday which was good for a second place tie. The 42 year old Canadian also did not make the cut last week at the Humana or the Sony Open, and has been relatively quiet for the last few years after recovering from Tommy Johns surgery on his elbow. Weir started his day on the back nine, and had a round that included an eagle three at the first hole. He picked up one bogey at the seventh hole. Mike Weir has eight victories on the tour, but hasn’t won since the Fry’s Electronic Open in 2007. His last great season was 2003 when he won The Masters.

Tiger Woods played the South Course on Thursday with Rickie Fowler, and Nick Watney, and had a tale of two rounds. After a double bogey at the fourth hole, he went on a tare with an immediate birdie at five, and a sandy eagle at the sixth hole. With four more birdies, he got to within one stroke of the lead before the wheels came off. Woods picked up two bogeys on the way in, and ended his day at four under par, three strokes back.

Tiger started to struggle with the driver, where early in the round, he was hitting the ball too far left, started hitting it right. His drive on the 13th hole was 60 yards off line, and almost in the adjacent fairway, He faded a 6 iron to the green and made his last birdie of the day.

Phil Mickelson struggled with his game all day, but fought back on the North Course , and signed his card for an even par 72 for his opening round.

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