Adam Scott in Torrey Pines showdown with Justin Rose

Wednesday, 30 Jan, 2019

SAN DIEGO - Even Tiger Woods couldn't decide if his shirt was red.

"Yeah", Woods said with a smile. And he heard about it throughout the round, one spectator even suggesting that the ball "would have gone in if you were wearing red". "The back nine is no joke".

Rose actually led by four on the final hole on Saturday before making a bad bogey on a hole he probably should have birdied.

But he spurned a series of further chances down the stretch, with disappointing pars at the two remaining par-fives, and he admitted he needed something "special" over the weekend to make inroads into the 11-shot deficit to halfway leader, Justin Rose.

Tiger Woods felt good in his first competitive round of 2019, from his tee shot right down the middle on No. 1 at Torrey Pines South to the 12-foot birdie putt on 18 that elicited roars from the crowd.

Meanwhile, Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Talor Gooch (68) tied third at 16 under, while Australia's defending champion Jason Day (67) shared fifth alongside Rory McIlroy (69) and 2017 champion Jon Rahm (72) at 14 under.

"He's absolutely flagging it and swinging it really well", said Billy Horschel, who played with Rose and Jordan Spieth the last two days. "The way he's rolling the putts now, he's become like a complete player".

All in all, the lion's share of the week had a Groundhog Day feel to it, with Woods waking up with an icy putter and chilly irons and feeling disappointed walking off most every green.

He could have shot a 67 or 68 on Thursday, but in order to get in the mix to win on the weekend he might have to fire a 65 or 66. "The scores were a lot lower than I thought they would be". "Just need to read them correctly". He hit 15 greens in regulation for his best performance in that category in the four rounds. He'll tinker here and there, just as he did past year when he built up his body and game after returning from spinal fusion surgery.

So, too, did Woods, who makes his next start February 14 in the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club north of Los Angeles. From there, he has several decisions to make as the schedule gets busy and the events following the Genesis are all ones he could be inclined to play if he could.

"Not to play too much but also play enough to keep building", he said. "If you take into account the town and the vibe around Torrey Pines, this is my favourite golf course and golf tournament". "I'm just not used to having so much adrenaline in my system, it's been a while, so just trying to get a feel for that".