Tiger Woods was on the charge on day three at the Farmers Insurance Open, racing through the front nine with a four-under par 32.

The Masters champion had closed to within two shots of overnight leader Ryan Palmer by the midway point of his third round on Saturday.

After fog delayed the start of the action at Torrey Pines by two hours, Woods bounced back from his four-putt double bogey from round two as he holed from over 15 feet to start with a birdie this time around.

Seven-time champion Woods picked up another shot at three and then chipped in at the fourth so save par and maintain his early momentum.

A missed chance followed on the fifth but he birdied the sixth with another 15-footer and then followed two pars with a superb approach shot on the par-five ninth nine to set up the most easy of birdies.

Victory for Woods this week would see him break the all-time record for the most PGA Tour victories.

Palmer started with three consecutive pars to lead John Rahm, Matthew NeSmith and J.B. Holmes by one stroke, with Woods in a share of fifth position with Sebastian Cappelen.

Wu Ashun took advantage of a "happy Chinese New Year shot" as he seized the lead after the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

The 34-year-old from China has three previous wins on the European Tour and gave himself hope for a fourth as a five-under-par 67 secured a one-shot lead.

Wu led by four at one stage, after successive birdies at 10, 11 and 12, but a dropped shot at the 16th and no further gains left him 11 under after 54 holes and allowed the field to close in.

Frenchman Victor Perez moved to one behind as he matched Wu's 67, while Englishman Tom Lewis scorched to a 65 and shared third place on nine under with Americans Kurt Kitayama and Bryson DeChambeau, who posted 68 and 70 respectively.

Eddie Pepperell fell from first place overnight to sixth on his own after a level-par 72.

Wu must have had an inkling it would be his day when his second shot at the first, out of the rough, cleared the greenside bunker and zipped across the green and straight into the hole for an eagle.

He picked up a shot at the third too, chipping in to seize the lead, before the streak of birdies after the turn looked like making it a procession.

It was not that way in the end, but Wu nevertheless heads into the final day at the top of the leaderboard.

Asked about his stroke of fortune at the first, Wu said: "That's like a happy Chinese New Year shot. The first hole, and the second shot's unbelievable for me, for a very good start. I was very happy."

The chip-in at three also had Wu celebrating.

"I've been working hard on my short game, but some days you get lucky and can chip from everywhere," he said in a European Tour interview.

"You get a good feeling and I got the good feeling today."

Going into the final round, Wu hopes his experience as a multiple winner on tour will influence the outcome.

"That is always good experience," he said. "So I feel very, very comfortable and very relaxed for playing the final round."

Ryan Palmer fired a superb 10-under 62 to take a two-stroke lead at the Farmers Insurance Open as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy struggled to make inroads.

Palmer, the 2018 runner-up, capitalised on playing the North Course at Torrey Pines in California to move into 10 under and the outright lead.

The American made five birdies on the front nine and six in eight holes beginning at the 10th, before dropping a shot at the last.

Palmer holds a two-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker, who carded a five-under 67 on the South Course.

The eight best rounds of the day came on the North Course, with Palmer's the highlight.

Woods (71) and McIlroy played the South Course and were left in a tie for 17th at four under.

A seven-time champion of the event, Woods made a double bogey to start his round before following that up with five birdies and two bogeys.

McIlroy struggled to a one-over 73 despite being two under through 11, with bogeys at 12, 15 and 18 hurting his chances.

J.B. Holmes (69), Jhonattan Vegas (68), Sebastian Cappelen (71) and Matthew NeSmith (70) are tied for third at seven under.

Beau Hossler (66), Keegan Bradley (72), Zac Blair (66), Patrick Reed (69) and Harry Higgs (68) are a shot further back.

Jordan Spieth (70) and Jason Day (67) are among the group with Woods and McIlroy at four under, while defending champion Justin Rose (70) missed the cut after being left to rue his opening-round 75.

Eddie Pepperell holds a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Dubai Desert Classic after carding a second round of 67.

The Englishman followed up Thursday's 69 with seven birdies and two bogeys to move to eight under par, a stroke clear of Dean Burmester, who was involved in a car crash on Wednesday, Bryson DeChambeau and Robert Karlsson.

Pepperell was six under through 13 holes only to see his form falter when the broadcasters started paying close attention.

"I was happy with how I was feeling early and I got off to a nice start," said the 29-year-old.

"For the most part, it was very, very good until the cameras came along. I must have been concerned with how I was looking because then I started struggling!"

DeChambeau opened with three consecutive birdies and made three further gains at the 10th, 13th and 14th holes after a slip at the par-four sixth for the second day in a row.

A further birdie at the 17th allowed the 2019 winner to recover from another dropped shot on the par-three 15th and end the day in a tie for second.

Tommy Fleetwood is four strokes off the lead after a brilliant 65 propelled him back up the leaderboard following an opening round of 75.

Compatriot Lee Westwood also enjoyed a 10-shot swing, his four under for the day just enough for him to make the cut after a miserable opening 78 that included six bogeys.

Graeme McDowell was less fortunate, the 2010 U.S. Open champion finishing at three over after failing to recover from a double bogey at the fifth.

Keegan Bradley and Sebastian Cappelen share the Farmers Insurance Open lead as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods made decent starts on Thursday.

Bradley and Cappelen opened with six-under 66s at Torrey Pines, sharing a one-stroke lead on what is a congested leaderboard in San Diego.

A bogey-free opening round on the North Course set up 2011 US PGA Championship winner Bradley, who made an eagle at the par-five fifth.

Denmark's Cappelen produced his round on the South Course, mixing eight birdies with two bogeys.

Plenty of eyes were on McIlroy and Woods, who made fine starts, with the Northern Irishman particularly impressive.

McIlroy carded a five-under 67 on the North Course in a round featuring seven birdies and two bogeys.

He is in an eight-way tie for third, alongside Byeong Hun An, Joel Dahmen, Kevin Tway, Zhang Xinjun, Matthew NeSmith, Im Sung-jae and 2011 winner Bubba Watson.

A seven-time champion of the event, Woods fired a three-under 69 to be tied for 21st.

Woods made two birdies and two bogeys on his front nine before picking up shots at the first, fifth and ninth.

Jon Rahm, the 2017 winner, is among a group of 10 tied for 11th at four under, with J.B. Holmes alongside him.

Defending champion Justin Rose struggled on the South Course, shooting a three-over 75.

Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, made a solid if unspectacular start with an opening-round 70 that included five birdies.

Tiger Woods fired a three-under-par 69 in his opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Woods, seeking a record 83rd victory on the PGA tour on a course where he has lifted eight titles previously, carded five birdies in a promising start in San Diego.

The 44-year-old was three off the lead of six under set by Sebastian Cappelen.

Woods, who started on the back nine, recovered from a bogey on the 11th to claim birdies on the 13th and the par-five 17th but dropped another shot to make the turn at level par.

He closed out the round with three more birdies and only missed out on an eagle at the fifth after a 20-foot putt missed to the left.

"Overall, I'm pleased," he said afterwards. "I feel like I drove a little better today.

"My start lines were a little bit tighter, which was nice. I missed competing, so I was just trying to keep everything as calm as I possibly could."

Thomas Pieters recovered from a dramatic mid-round slump to snatch the first-round lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.

The Belgian began on the back nine and made a storming start with five birdies by the turn, but a double-bogey six at the first and another dropped shot at the second threatened to undo his good work.

Yet Pieters showed his steely side by making three birdies in succession from the fifth, signing for a five-under-par 67 and a one-shot cushion at the top of the leaderboard.

The impressive effort nudged him ahead of American David Lipsky, whose 68 contained no such dramas.

At one stage Lipsky, who also began at the 10th hole, was five under too, but a dropped shot at the fourth halted his charge.

South African Shaun Norris would have held the outright overnight lead but for a calamity at his final hole.

He was another to start at the 10th, and the 37-year-old reached the ninth sitting pretty on six under; however, a triple-bogey seven after finding water resulted in a sorry slide back into a share of third on three under.

Norris had plenty of company on that mark at Emirates Golf Club, with 11 players alongside him including England's Eddie Pepperell, Sweden's Robert Karlsson, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and China's three-time European Tour winner Wu Ashun.

American Bryson DeChambeau was in a group of four on two under, with major winners Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen all one under, the same mark as Ian Poulter. Open champion Shane Lowry was tied for 30th after a level-par 72.

Thursday's round was one to forget for Lee Westwood, though, four days after his triumph at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 46-year-old Englishman earned over €1million for his efforts last week but faces a likely missed cut in Dubai after starting with a 78, six over par, that left him down in a tie for 113th place.

Former Masters champion Danny Willett was another off the pace, a four-over 76 leaving him with plenty of ground to make up on Friday.

Tiger Woods says he does not give any thought to winning a record 83rd PGA Tour title as he prepares to tee off for the first time this year in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Woods matched Sam Snead's haul of 82 titles by winning the Zozo Championship last October.

All eyes will be on the 15-time major champion when he starts his bid to better that tally at Torrey Pines on Thursday, but Woods says the prospect of making history has not been playing on his mind.

"That number, just trying to get to 83, I really don't think about it," Woods told the media on Tuesday.

"Because I still have to think about all the things I need to do to win the golf tournament. There's so many different shots I have to play. Strategy, thinking my way around the golf course. I'm more consumed in that."

The legendary American ended an 11-year major drought at the Masters last year and says he is merely happy to be in a position to challenge for further honours rather than being driven to hunt down Jack Nicklaus's record total of 18.

"Even to get to the number I'm at right now, 15, is a lot," the 44-year-old added.

"Not too many guys who are around have seen that kind of number before. It's just going to take time. It took Jack about 26 years to get to his number, it's taken me 20-odd years to get to my mine.

"It just takes time to accumulate wins. There were a number of years where I didn't play so there were some missed opportunities. But I'm playing again now so these are blessed opportunities and I didn't think I'd have these."

Woods has won the Farmers Insurance Open seven times, most recently in 2013.

Jack Nicklaus had his life mapped out by the end of 1959.

Proposing to his girlfriend, nursing student and fellow Ohio State undergraduate Barbara Bash, over Christmas, the 19-year-old Nicklaus saw a clear vision of the future.

He would be, if all went to plan, a mighty fine golfer but an even better insurance salesman.

The teenage years had treated Nicklaus well. He acquired the golfing fundamentals under Jack Grout's instruction at Scioto Country Club and became a serial amateur champion, all while demonstrating diligence in his studies and a precocious talent for earning big bucks.

The idea was that he and Barbara would settle down, live a life of contentment together and want for nothing, and Jack would always have his golf. The American dream.

Never mind winning a record 18 majors; merely playing in that many was still fanciful.

Nicklaus, who turns 80 this week, was a college kid with a winning golf game, a head for figures and an effortless, neighbourly charm. Some combination.

Today he is one of the greatest and wealthiest sports stars in history.

This is the story of the 1960 U.S. Open, and how a day in Ben Hogan's company changed young Jack's life.

 

INSURANCE THE BEST POLICY?

Already the U.S. Amateur champion at the dawn of the sixties, Nicklaus realised he had a serious talent that could worry the best professionals, but was there sufficient financial incentive to go into golf full-time?

He was not so sure. Insurance paid well, and a new decade promised new money-making opportunities.

"I had probably three jobs that I was working at the same time," Nicklaus recalled.

"I was working for Ohio State Life Insurance Company, I was working for Parker and Co, which is a brokerage firm out of New York, and I was actually working for a slack company. As I travelled I did some slack promotion, well within amateur regulations.

"I was making close to about $30,000 a year. That's pretty good for a 20‑year‑old. Pretty darned good back in 1960. And I thought about playing the Tour, [but] you had to be probably in the top five to be making $30,000 a year."

Nicklaus had played on a winning Walker Cup team at Muirfield and was voted the world's leading amateur by Golf Digest magazine before turning 20. 

THE WEEK WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED

Nicklaus' golf life was transformed at the 1960 U.S. Open, specifically on the Saturday, the closing day of the tournament, when the youngster, still devoted to the unpaid ranks, was paired with the great Ben Hogan for the final 36 holes.

Over back-to-back circuits of the Cherry Hills course, set within a luxury country club in Denver's suburbs, Nicklaus later admitted: "I learned how to play golf."

Dad Charlie broke the news to young Jack that he would be playing alongside the 47-year-old Hogan, a nine-time major champion.

"It's in my personal scrapbook when my dad came in and said, 'Guess who you're playing the last two rounds with'," Nicklaus said.

"He says, 'Hogan'. It was like, you know, I'm going to get a chance to play with Ben Hogan."

Wherever Nicklaus goes today, there is a clamour for stories about his early days.

Put him in a media room and a half hour of wisdom and delicious anecdotes will spill out. Pure manna for golf reporters.

The 1960 U.S. Open has been raked over as often as the Cherry Hills bunkers. Nicklaus does not seem to mind. He knows its relevance, enjoys the reverance.

A COLLISION OF GREATS - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Nicklaus, Hogan and Masters champion Arnold Palmer were firmly in the U.S. Open title mix that year, a coming together of generations old and new, with Palmer surging into title contention after a surge of six birdies in his first seven holes of that final round. Palmer had ominously driven the green at the par-four first.

Nicklaus, despite his amateur status, nevertheless led as he reached the turn.

Put succinctly, Nicklaus' putter went stone cold and he fluffed that chance of glory, while playing partner Hogan blew up on the 35th and 36th holes of the day, a bogey and a triple from the veteran handing victory to Palmer, whose six-under-par 65 took him from seven shots back at the start of the round to first place, four under for the tournament.

While Nicklaus placed second, Hogan trailed home tied for ninth, cursing his costly drive into water at the last. Nicklaus, however, was tracking his playing partner's every shot.

"The first time he missed a green was the 35th hole we played," Nicklaus said. "He hit the ball in the fairway, he managed his game. He played little hooks, little slices, little short slots and he played conservative shots. And he made some putts and missed a lot putts. Hogan stood over a putt for about an hour in those days.

"They talk about all the putts he missed but he holed a ton of putts. He was my kind of guy to play with. We walked down the fairway; pleasantries. When you hit a good shot, if he said it was a good shot, you knew darned well it was a good shot.

"And if you didn't hit a good shot, you weren't expecting to hear anything, which you didn't."

"IF HE HAD A BRAIN IN HIS HEAD..."

Nicklaus has often quibbled with a quote attributed to Hogan from Cherry Hills, with Hogan said to have told US sports writer Dan Jenkins: "I played with a kid today who would have won by 10 strokes if he knew what he was doing."

A conversation with Jenkins, who died last year, set the record straight for Nicklaus - if not entirely favourably for golf's future 'Golden Bear'.

According to Nicklaus, Jenkins revealed how Hogan actually said he partnered a player "who if he had a brain in his head, would have won by 10 strokes".

Nicklaus offers a similarly self-flagellating take of what happened over those closing holes, as the winning line came into view.

"I blew it," he said. "I had the tournament reasonably well in hand if I had known how to play.

"I remember walking off the 12th green. I looked at the leaderboard, and there was one 5 on the board [indicating a score of five under par] and that was me.

"I three-putted 13, 14. And after I look at the leaderboard, 'Nice going, Jack'. Then I miss a three-footer at 16, and about an eight-footer at 17 and bogey 18 to lose that golf tournament. That's a pretty poor finish. You learn from that."

Nicklaus conceded he "didn't know how to win at 20 years old, not against the guys". That changed soon enough.

"THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME"

Marrying Barbara a month after his Cherry Hills exploits, Nicklaus remained in the amateur ranks, making his money in the 'real world'.

Eventually, having landed his second U.S. Amateur title, he turned professional in November 1961.

"I decided I really didn't care about being the best insurance salesman," Nicklaus said. "I really wanted to be a guy who could be the best at playing golf.

"And the only way to do that is to play against the best. And so that was why I turned pro."

There was no standing on ceremony either once that status was acquired.

His maiden major triumph came when Oakmont hosted the U.S. Open in 1962, beating Palmer in a play-off. The Masters and US PGA titles followed in 1963, and by 1964, Nicklaus was the leading money-winner on the PGA Tour, trouncing what he might have earned with a sharp suit, fedora and briefcase.

Nicklaus will be forever associated with Cherry Hills, and the tournament where he "proceeded to fall apart like a three-dollar suitcase".

Now that he has turned 80, with Hogan long gone and Palmer having passed on to life's 19th hole more than three years ago, it falls to Nicklaus to recount the stories of yesteryear.

All being even, he has not told his last tale of Cherry Hills. This story is assembled from hour after hour of Nicklaus reminiscing with golf's press pack.

"I look back on it, and I say, you know, I would have loved to have won that tournament," Nicklaus said. "But maybe the best thing that ever happened to me was the learning experience that I had from it.

"Did it destroy my life? No. I learned from it. I put what I learned there to use. Did I do it again? Sure. But did I do it to the same degree? No."

THROW A RIGHT ONCE YOU CAN SMELL MONEY

Leaving Denver today on Interstate 25 - the Valley Highway - you can leave the five-lane carriageway by Veterans Park and begin the South University Boulevard approach to Cherry Hills Country Club.

An urban, gridded landscape - studentville around the University of Denver, block after block of modern apartments, a Wendy's burger joint - gives way after a couple of miles to a greener, tree-lined avenue, and a sprawl of gated communities, a millionaire's paradise.

Peyton Manning reputedly calls this home. David Duval has lived in a mansion practically overlooking the course.

Once you can positively smell money, throwing a right turn at a barely conspicuous but traffic-lighted junction reveals the country club, its mock-tudor clubhouse soon coming into view.

Behind that members' sanctuary, its eight tennis courts and a huge swimming pool, lies a golf course steeped in history.

This is not the course that Jack built - even though today there are over 400 Nicklaus-designed courses across the world.

But it is where the Nicklaus legend was born, perhaps the key stepping stone towards insurance's temporary claim becoming golf's greatest fixed asset.

Jack Nicklaus, the most prolific winner of major championships in golf, celebrates his 80th birthday on Tuesday.

To mark the occasion, here are 18 facts about the Golden Bear, one for each of his major victories.

 

- Despite his unmatched success at the highest level, Nicklaus only defended a major title on one occasion, at the 1966 Masters.

- Before turning professional, Nicklaus won two U.S. Amateur titles in 1959 and 1961. The second of those wins saw him thrash Dudley Wysong 8 and 6.

- He is one of only two players, together with Tiger Woods, to have completed the triple career grand slam by winning all four majors at least three times. Nicklaus achieved the feat in 1978, claiming his third Open title at St Andrews. Woods followed suit 30 years later with his third U.S. Open win.

- Nicklaus' final appearances at each of the four majors coincided with victories for Woods - at the 2000 U.S. Open, 2000 US PGA Championship, 2005 Masters and 2005 Open.

- There were five years - across three decades - in which Nicklaus claimed two major wins: 1963, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1980.

- Nicklaus' memorable Masters victory in 1986 was his sixth, the most of any player. He played the back nine in six under par as he become the oldest winner of the tournament at 46.

- The most successful seasons of Nicklaus' career - in terms of PGA Tour wins - came in 1972 and 1973. He won seven tournaments in both of those years.

- The Golden Bear held sole possession of the 54-hole lead at a major on eight occasions and went on to seal victory every time.

- His record margin of victory at a major was achieved at the 1965 Masters, a tournament he won by nine strokes. Gary Player and Arnold Palmer were joint second, with the trio having shared the lead after 36 holes. Nicklaus' nine-shot victory was a record triumph at Augusta until Woods won by 12 in 1997.

- Nicklaus holds the record for the most top-10 finishes at every major, recording 22 top-10s at the Masters, 18 at the U.S. Open, 18 at The Open and 15 at the US PGA. His overall tally of 73 major top-10s puts him well clear of nearest rivals Sam Snead (48) and Tom Watson (46). Woods has 41 to date.

- The last PGA Tour cheque of Nicklaus' illustrious career earned him $11,130, when he finished in a tie for 63rd at the 2004 edition of the Memorial Tournament, aged 64.

- A teenage Nicklaus finished 12th on his PGA Tour debut, at the 1958 Rubber City Open. He was only one off the lead after 36 holes.

- In an stunning run from the 1973 Masters to the 1976 Masters, Nicklaus recorded top-10 finishes at 13 successive majors. Hogan holds the record with 18.

- Nicklaus was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 - the highest civilian honour available in the United States. He became only the seventh athlete to receive the honour and the third golfer after Byron Nelson and Palmer.

- When Nicklaus won The Open for the fourth and final time in 1980, it represented his 15th consecutive top-six finish at the event. That remarkable streak featured three of his four wins and six of his seven runner-up finishes.

- Nicklaus won the 1956 Ohio Open as a 16-year-old amateur, beating a host of professional players. He credited the win to Snead, having played an exhibition with the golfing great after round one of the tournament.

- In 17 consecutive seasons from 1962 to 1978, Nicklaus won at least two events on the PGA Tour. He also finished in the top four in the money list in each of these seasons.

- Last but not least, Nicklaus' haul of 18 majors remains the benchmark. Woods claimed his 15th, after an 11-year barren spell, at last year's Masters, but still has lots of work to do to catch Jack.

Andrew Landry held his nerve at the critical moment to claim a second PGA Tour title at The American Express on Sunday.

The 2018 Texas Open champion birdied the final two holes to salvage a five-under 67 in the fourth round and finish two shots ahead of Abraham Ancer (63) in California.

Landry began the fourth round level in a tie for first with Scottie Scheffler and initially looked set to cruise clear of the chasing pack as his compatriot stumbled through the opening six holes.

Three successive bogeys beginning at the 13th allowed the surging Ancer to erase a six-shot deficit, but Landry resisted the challenge after making par at the 16th.

He converted two excellent tee shots into a pair of birdies to close out the tournament at 24 under.

The win will help to erase Landry's memories of his playoff defeat against Jon Rahm on the Stadium Course at PGA West two years ago.

The 32-year-old told reporters: "I had good swing thoughts coming down the stretch. Just got the job done.

"I mean, I think the biggest shot of the tournament was the one on 17."

Scheffler (70) finished a stroke behind Ancer, while Bud Cauley (65) and Sepp Straka (66) shared a tie for fourth.

Another American, Rickie Fowler, finished in a four-way tie for 10th after following his third-round 70 with a disappointing one-under 71.

Lee Westwood held off a final-round charge from birthday boy Tommy Fleetwood to take victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Englishman scooped his 25th European Tour title, and first since triumphing at the Nedbank Challenge in November 2018, as a five-under-par 67 took him to 19 under for the week.

Fleetwood and Frenchman Victor Perez finished off with rounds of 63 for a share of second place with Matthew Fitzpatrick, who had a 67, but it was Westwood's day as he finished two clear.

With his 47th birthday approaching in April, this performance in the desert was a timely reminder of Westwood's enduring class, and it means he has scored European Tour wins in four decades, having first made his mark in the 1990s.

He held a one-shot lead overnight from Bernd Wiesberger and Francesco Laporta, but neither man challenged on the final day, falling back to eighth and a share of 17th respectively after rounds of 72 and 74.

Instead it was Westwood's compatriot Fleetwood and Perez mounting an assault, the latter helped by an eagle at the par-five 18th.

They came close, but Westwood held his nerve at the last by making his third birdie on the 18th of the week to guarantee his success.

When reminded about his career longevity in a European Tour interview, Westwood said: "It's been a good week. I can't believe I'm that old! It's getting harder."

Westwood is set to climb into the world's top 30, having started the week in 63rd, and a Ryder Cup ticket could be coming his way.

"I'm not sure I can take any more Ryder Cups," he said. "I've played 10 and it was good watching the lads last time.

"Obviously if there's a chance of that I might as well go for it. But it's just nice to keep proving that you've still got it."

Fleetwood was bidding to win this event for a third time after consecutive successes in 2017 and 2018, and on his 29th birthday it was a stunning effort to get close to Westwood.

He said: "Every week we play, somebody's going to play great golf, and at the moment that's Lee, but I'm very, very happy with my weekend. I feel like I played some really, really good golf.

"It was nice getting the juices flowing on the last few, knowing that I could post a score."

South African Louis Oosthuizen had a 66 to take fifth on 15 under, with his countryman Shaun Norris going one better with a 65 for a share of sixth with England's Ross Fisher, who closed out his week with a 67 score.

Martin Kaymer signed off with a 65 and Sergio Garcia had a 70 as the former major winners tied with Wiesberger and Scotland's Scott Jamieson for eighth on 13 under.

Andrew Landry and Scottie Scheffler ended the third round tied for the lead at The American Express.

Landry and countryman Scheffler are four strokes clear atop the leaderboard after Saturday's penultimate round.

A one-time winner on the PGA Tour, Landry climbed two positions thanks to his seven-under-par 65 in California.

Landry – playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West – made a red-hot start with six birdies from his opening nine holes, including four in a row from the 14th.

Scheffler, who was tied for the 36-hole lead alongside Rickie Fowler, stayed top thanks to his six-under-par 66.

On the Stadium Course, Scheffler was bogey-free with six birdies throughout day three.

American star Fowler dropped down to third following his two-under-par 70, which included four birdies and two bogeys.

Ryan Moore (67) and Chase Seiffert (67) are a stroke further back at 16 under through 54 holes, a shot ahead of Andrew Putnam (65), Abraham Ancer (66) and Sebastian Cappelen (64).

Rickie Fowler moved into a share of the lead at The American Express after shooting an eight-under 64 in the second round on Friday.

The American backed up his opening-round 65 with a stellar showing, this time at the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West in California.

Fowler produced a bogey-free round that included an eagle and six birdies as he climbed into 15 under.

He is joined atop the leaderboard by Scottie Scheffler, who shot a 64 on the same course to be alongside Fowler with a one-stroke lead.

Fowler made back-to-back birdies on holes 11 and 12 before delivering a strong finish, including the eagle at the par-five fourth – where a wonderful second shot set up a short putt.

Andrew Landry carded an eight-under 64 at La Quinta Country Club to be outright third at 14 under.

The round of the day belonged to Tony Finau, who carded a stunning 10-under 62 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

Finau was three under through his first nine holes before birdieing seven of his last nine to be outright fourth at 13 under.

Bud Cauley (64) is at 12 under, a shot ahead of Ted Potter Jr. (63), Im Sung-jae (66), Ryan Moore (65), Cameron Davis (67), Wes Roach (65) and Chase Seiffert (67).

Adam Long, last year's winner when the tournament was called the Desert Classic, is back at five under and tied for 68th.

Phil Mickelson has struggled to get going and sits in a tie for 110th at two under after rounds of 70 and 72.

Francesco Laporta shot a sublime nine-under 63 to take a one-shot lead at halfway in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 124-ranked Laporta lit up the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Friday, birdying six of the last eight holes to move above Matt Fitzpatrick and Rafa Cabrera Bello, .

Laporta charged 49 places on the leaderboard to head into the weekend in the mix for a first European Tour title.

He hit the turn in 33, having made three gains on the front nine of a bogey-free round.

"I just want to enjoy the weekend," said the 29-year-old surprise front-runner, who will tee off on 10 under on Saturday.

"I played solid all 18 holes, my putting was solid, my driver, my irons. 

"I gave myself a lot of opportunities for birdies and so when I had the opportunities, I took them. Every time I was putting for birdie, I made it. It was a great day."

Fitzpatrick had set the clubhouse target with a five-under 67 following four birdies in the last six holes.

The Englishman is bogey-free for the week, sitting in a share of second with Cabrera Bello, who shot a four-under 68.

Cabrera Bello's countryman Sergio Garcia, Li Haotong and Renato Paratore are two shots adrift of Laporta.

Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen are among five players on seven under, while world number one Brooks Koepka slipped back to three under with a three-over 75.

Defending champion Shane Lowry will not be retaining his title after the Open champion missed the cut.

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