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Snedeker, Choi tie for top at Farmers

SAN DIEGO — Brandt Snedeker ended another round at Torrey Pines atop the leaderboard. Only this time, he had company and still a long way to go.

Snedeker had a flawless start to his title defense in the Farmers Insurance Open by playing bogey-free on the North Course for 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with K.J. Choi on Thursday. The advantage after one day goes to Choi, who birdied three of his last four holes on the tougher South Course.

Tiger Woods, a seven-time champion at Torrey Pines as a pro, looked as if he might join them. Woods was one back with five to play on the South until he stumbled in the final hour of a cloudy day with two bogeys and had to scramble to save par on the par-5 18th for 68.

"I made a few mistakes out there, but I made some nice plays as well," Woods said.

He three-putted for double bogey on the fourth hole then responded with a 12-footer for birdie, an eagle by holing a bunker shot on the par-5 sixth and birdie putts on the eighth and ninth to get back into the game.

Phil Mickelson had quite the taxing day with 72 on the North, which played about 1½ strokes easier than the course that hosted a U.S. Open in 2008.

Snedeker already is developing a love affair with this municipal course along the Pacific Bluffs. As a rookie, he was 10 under through 10 holes and had to settle for 61 on the North. He finished third that year. Then he rallied from seven shots behind in the final round last year, got into a playoff when Kyle Stanley made triple bogey on 18 and won on the second hole.

One year later, he was right back at it.

"It's funny. You look at all the golf courses I should play well on, this should not be one of them," Snedeker said.

Masters champion Bubba Watson withdrew because of a stomach illness.

PGA Europe: Sergio Garcia (6-under 66) and Martin Kaymer (67) were among four tied for the second-round lead at 9-under 135 at the Qatar Masters in Doha.

Snedeker, Choi tie for top at Farmers 01/24/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:01am]
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