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Fore Things: Big names leaving Torrey early

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SAN DIEGO – Justin Rose stayed one shot in front at the Farmers Insurance Open after a second-round 71 on Torrey Pines’ more difficult South Course, while Tiger Woods gassed up the jet to Dubai. Here are Friday’s Fore Things to know:

1. Tiger’s return to PGA Tour golf ended predictably. It was always going to be a tall task for Woods, in his first Tour start in 17 months, to make the cut at a U.S. Open course that severely punishes errant shots. And he had plenty of those over two rounds here. Woods is treating these next few months like the preseason, with an eye on peaking at Augusta.

2. Brandt Snedeker is the rare player who enjoys these bumpy poa annua greens. The defending champion shot 69 Friday to move into a tie for second, one shot back of Rose. With his reliable pop stroke, Sneds keeps his ball rolling tight to the grass and eliminates some of the bumps and bobbles. It clearly works, as he’s in position to join Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only players in the past 40 years to defend here.

3. The Farmers is lacking some star power this weekend. No Tiger. No J-Day. No DJ. No Rickie. Torrey always feels like the unofficial start of the new season, but this year many of the stars had a false start.

4. Torrey Pines will look much different by Sunday. After getting pounded with rain over the past month, the South Course is finally starting to dry out and firm up. Even better news is they’re finally able to mow the fairways and rough. With 79 players within eight shots of the lead, it should be a bunched leaderboard all weekend.