Farmers Insurance Open 2018: Ryan Palmer Leads at 11-Under Par Through 2 Rounds

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2018

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 15th hole on the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the second round of Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Ryan Palmer is setting the pace through 36 holes at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open with a score of 11-under par. 

The 41-year-old Palmer fired a 67 on Friday to carry a one-shot lead over Jon Rahm heading into the weekend. Luke List and Tony Finau are tied for third at nine-under par. 

Further down the leaderboard, Tiger Woods continued to show progress by getting under par thanks to a one-under 71 in the second round. 

Here's how things stand at Torrey Pines with two days of golf remaining:

All eyes have been focused on Woods this week, both because it's his first PGA-sanctioned tournament in 12 months and to see how his surgically-repaired back would hold up as he goes through the grind of a full-scale event after playing in the Hero World Challenge last month. 

Woods, playing the north course, started on the back nine. He appeared to be in for a long day after posting a double-bogey on his fourth hole and making the turn at two-over par overall. 

With the cut line at one-under par, Woods had a lot of work to do if he wanted to play the weekend. The 14-time major champion was able to find his groove by playing the final nine holes at three-under par, including this birdie on No. 9 that will keep him around for Saturday and Sunday:

Speaking after finishing his round, Woods called it a grind but admitted "it felt good" to finish the round under par:

There are plenty of things for Woods to correct if he wants to make a substantial move over the next two days. He only hit the fairway on 21.4 percent of his drives in the second round after being accurate 57 percent of the time on Thursday.

While Woods still searches for consistency, Palmer just needs to repeat what he's done over the first two rounds to earn his first PGA Tour win since 2010. 

Palmer started slowly with back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes. After finally getting one shot back with a birdie on No. 5, he found his stride right before making the turn. He shot four-under par in three holes from No. 9-11, including an eagle on the ninth hole. 

A second eagle on No. 17 pushed Palmer into the top spot:

Success has been hard to come by for Palmer. He does have three career PGA Tour victories, but his most recent came at the Sony Open eight years ago. His last top-10 finish was at the Texas Open last April. 

Currently ranked 205th in the world, Palmer's success this week can be attributed to his ability to hit the fairway (71.4 percent driving accuracy) and get on the greens in regulation (72.2 percent). 

Rahm, who won this tournament last year, is right on Palmer's heels thanks to a bogey-free 66. 

Per Justin Ray of the Golf Channel, Rahm is in a position no other defending champion has been in since Woods 10 years ago:

Jason Day made a massive leap on Friday, moving up 107 spots after firing a bogey-free 64. He was on pace to post a score even lower than that thanks to six birdies over his first nine holes and making the turn with a 30. 

Despite slowing down with just two birdies over his final nine holes, Day was still able to post the lowest score of the second round and erased any concerns about his 73 on Thursday. 

Things have set up well for the PGA Tour heading into the weekend. Woods' presence will always draw a crowd; Day showed how quickly he can turn things around and seven players are within four shots of Palmer atop the leaderboard. 

After a day of low scores on Friday, it wouldn't be a surprise if there was someone else sitting in the top spot following the third round. 

Stats via PGATour.com

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