SAN DIEGO – Move over golden boys.
Patrick Rodgers is looking to join you as PGA Tour winners from that gifted “Class of 2011,” that group of special players who graduated the same year of high school and played so much junior golf together.
If Rodgers doesn’t join you with a victory Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, Ollie Schniederjans hopes to do so.
And if he can’t, Cheng Tseng Pan is eager to do so.
With a 5-under-par 67 Saturday, Rodgers is in the best position, tied for the lead with Brandt Snedeker (70) going into what could be a crazy finish. There are a dozen players within two shots of the lead on the Torrey Pines South Course.
For Rodgers, 24, there’s a burning desire kindled watching so many of his buddies take home trophies in golf’s big leagues.
“I can’t sit here and say it hasn’t been hard at times to see,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, these are my best friends, so I’m happy every time they have success. But on a personal level, those are the guys that I’ve always competed with, and so it definitely tests my patience, to see them having so much success. And it’s incredibly motivating.”
Rodgers hit the PGA Tour with some serious pedigree. He won 11 times at Stanford, tying the record set by Tiger Woods.
But Rodgers watched Spieth rise to No. 1 winning two major championships. He watched Daniel Berger win PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors two years ago and then his first PGA Tour title last year. He watched Thomas win back-to-back in Hawaii to start this year.
“Maybe seeing Justin play so well here to start the year has motivated a couple of us to get into gear and get up there with a chance to win,” Rodgers said.
Schniederjans (71) had a share of the lead for a while Saturday, and he’s still in the hunt two shots back.
Pan, a former World Amateur No. 1 from Taiwan who played at the University of Washington, is just one back after posting 69.
This isn’t the first time Pan’s battled Rodgers and Schniederjans.
“Oh, yeah, we played a lot of AJGA events together,” Pan said. “I’ve played with those guys a lot in the past six, seven years.”
This “Class of 2011” label inspires.
“It's a great class, strong class and I think everyone knows that,” Pan said. “Just trying to represent.”