Jason Day and Alex Noren will return to Torrey Pines on Monday after five holes of a sudden-death play-off was not enough to find a winner at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Farmers Insurance Open
The pair traded three birdies and two pars over the five extra holes in a dramatic contest, but darkness brought a halt after they both holed from five feet on the 18th green – the fourth time they had played the closing par-five on the day.
Day, Noren and Ryan Palmer had finished 72 holes tied for the lead on 10 under after a lengthy final round at Torrey Pines, with the last threeball taking six hours to get round, and all three were unable to go for the green in two as they returned to the par-five 18th.
Noren then clipped a sublime wedge to tap-in range back on the 18th to pile the pressure on his rivals, while Palmer pushed his third way right of the target and raced his birdie putt eight feet beyond the hole.
But Day was more precise and knocked his wedge to 10 feet before holding his nerve to nail the tricky, downhill putt to send him and Noren back to the tee, and the Australian gave himself a great chance for eagle with a cracking second to 12 feet with Noren safely on at the back of the green.
Noren lagged for another certain birdie, and that proved enough to extend the contest when Day’s eagle putt did not break as much as he expected.
Day spurned another chance for the win when he again allowed too much borrow from 10 feet on the third extra hole, the 16th, and both then found sand off the tee at the 17th with neither threatening the pin with their approaches.
Noren was bold with his first putt and did well to rattle in the return for par after Day had come up a couple of rolls short of holing from long range, and the pair headed back to the 18th tee with light fading fast.
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Day was forced to lay-up after his drive found sand, and Noren suddenly had a huge advantage when he laced a pure hybrid onto the green, albeit some 40 feet from the flag.
Day, the 2015 champion, defied the conditions to get his wedge in close, and Noren’s pacy putt for eagle, and the win, rolled an uncomfortable distance past the cup.
But both made no mistake with their birdie efforts and shook hands amid a host of camera flashes, with not nearly enough light possible to play another hole.
Back in regulation play, Day had claimed the clubhouse lead with a two-under 70, although he would have been frustrated at failing to build on a four-birdie front nine as he failed to pick up a shot after the turn and bogeyed 11 and 15.
Noren was also birdie-free on the back nine and dropped shots at 12 and 14, and after flying the green with his second to the last, he pitched to the right fringe but missed from 15 feet for the 72-hole win.
Palmer was another to lose his way down the stretch and slipped one off the pace after bogeys at the 14th and 15th, although he did manage to birdie the last to sneak into the play-off after hitting a classy wedge to 18 inches at the last.
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JB Holmes made the best start of the contenders when he birdied the opening two holes before giving one back at the fourth, and another gain at the 10th got him back to 11 under and tied at the top.
But he endured a horror run from the 14th as he made three consecutive bogeys, and a par at 17 left him needing an eagle at the last to match Day’s clubhouse target.
And despite nailing his drive, he controversially decided to lay-up with his second after a long deliberation with his caddie and pulled his mid-iron into the left rough, although he did pitch to 10 feet and hole the birdie putt to finish one behind the leaders.
Justin Rose ended a disappointing final round on a high note as he holed a monster 60-foot putt for birdie on the last at Torrey Pines.
Justin Rose was unable to get himself into contention as he stumbled to a disappointing 74, although he did produce the shot of the day to finish on a high as he nailed a monster 60-foot putt for a closing birdie which lifted him back into the top eight on six under.
Defending champion Jon Rahm had been expected to mount a challenge after starting the day four behind, but the Spaniard took himself out of the frame with four consecutive bogeys from the third and he limped in with a 77 to end up eight strokes off the pace.