Jonas Blixt steps closer for a chance at Torrey Pines title

Blixt puts aside bad days, near lead at Torrey Pines (0:51)

Jonas Blixt, who barely kept his PGA Tour card last year, struggles to see the positives from last season. After a 6-under-par 66 on Saturday at the Farmers Insurance Open, he's within striking distance of a victory. (0:51)

SAN DIEGO -- The garnet and gold golf shoes turned out to be a footnote, not a major point of conversation. Jonas Blixt didn't figure to have much else to talk about Saturday, starting the third round on the opposite side of the course after having made the 36-hole cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on the number.

As part of the tournament's annual University Day, the Florida State alum did his part by showing his school colors -- on his feet. Then he put up red numbers on the leaderboard. Now he finds himself with a chance to win his third PGA Tour title on Sunday.

And that's after opening the tournament with a 77 on Thursday, a result that had him packing his bags for what figured to be an exit out of town after a missed cut.

"It wasn't very exciting after the first round,'' said Blixt, 31, a two-time winner from Sweden who played college golf at Florida State and now lives in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. "We figured out afterwards I was standing a little too far from the golf ball and just tightened things up a little bit and things have worked out pretty well.''

How well? After the opening 77, he shot 66 on Friday on the North course to make the cut at 143, 1 under par. He then added a 66 on Saturday on the tougher South course, the lowest score of the third round.

That put him in a tie for fifth, 2 shots back of 54-hole co-leaders K.J. Choi and Scott Brown.

"I'll sleep in these shoes if it means 66 every day,'' Blixt said.

Actually, it was something better than that, although it still had to do with his feet. He moved them an inch closer to the ball. "That's it,'' he said.

"My swing coach [Jorge Parada] and I were working on it this offseason, and I was hitting it pretty good going into the first couple of tournaments,'' Blixt said. "And I hit it well last week and was kind of off on Thursday, and it was weird. And then I hit a couple of golf balls at the driving range and figured it out.''

Blixt wishes he could have figured things out in 2015, which he said was "quite disappointing.''

The winner of the 2012 Frys.com Open and the 2013 Greenbrier Classic, Blixt ran into trouble last year, missing 13 cuts and needing a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship to finish 123rd in FedEx Cup points -- thus keeping his exempt status.

"I've got the best job in the world, in my opinion,'' Blixt said. "But when you keep playing bad, when you have a bad day at work, and it's every day ... I mean you're trying new stuff and it's pretty much seven months of bad, just bad days, it gets to you. It's hard to see the positives sometimes.

"But I tried to stay positive, and at the end of the year, I saw my last chance to keep my card -- and I did. And that was kind of a relief. I don't know if that's why I missed five cuts [in the new season], but I'm just very happy about the way I finished.''

Blixt missed five consecutive cuts, including two weeks ago in Hawaii, before a tie for 28th last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Then after the 77 -- which included just one birdie -- on Thursday, Blixt was 1 over through four holes on Friday before making an eagle at the par-5 14th on the North course. He made five more birdies coming in. Then he added seven more birdies on Saturday -- against just one bogey -- to get into the second-to-last group with Gary Woodland and Michael Kim.

If he were to prevail on Sunday, Blixt's 77 would be the highest opening-round score by a winner in Farmers Insurance Open tournament history.

"I feel like I've been getting better, doing the right things every day to play better, and I'm feeling really good about my game,'' he said. "I feel like the swing is where it's supposed to be. I'm putting good and I'm excited about tomorrow.''