LOS ANGELES (AFP) – World number one Justin Rose had seven birdies in a six-under par 66 on Friday to seize a three-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama in the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open.
England’s Rose equalled the 36-hole tournament record with a two round 15-under par total of 129. Japan’s Matsuyama was alone in second after a six-under par 66 for 132.
Overnight leader Jon Rahm of Spain headed a trio sharing third place on 134, while 14-time major winner Tiger Woods found himself 11 adrift after a sometimes frustrating two-under par 70.
Rose started the day one shot behind Rahm and got going with three birdies in a row at the fourth, fifth and sixth on the South Course, one of two in use over the first two days of the tournament.
After his lone bogey of the day at the seventh Rose saw a birdie try at eight lip out, but he moved to the lead at 12-under with a two-putt birdie at the par-five ninth, then rolled in a two-footer for a birdie at the 10th.
Rose birdied the par-five 13th and rolled in a 24-footer for birdie at 16 to pad his lead.
“The job was done today,” said Rose, who has hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation in each of the first two rounds. “It’s really nice to go out there and place a positive round and feel good on it. I can build on it hopefully on the weekend.”
American Billy Horschel, who raced into contention with five birdies in the space of six holes on the front nine, saw his challenge fade with three bogeys on the back nine on the way to a four-under par 68.