Tiger Woods had taken his bow and left the stage when fierce drama unfolded Sunday at Torrey Pines, with Alex Noren and Jason Day locked in a play-off duel as darkness fell.
The spotlight had been all on Woods as the 14-time major champion wrapped up his first US PGA Tour tournament in a year with an even par 72 for a 72-hole total of 285.
That was good enough for a promising tie for 23rd as Woods launched his latest bid to return to form in the wake of spinal fusion surgery last April.
Woods was never in sight of the 10-under par total of 278 that sent Australia's Day, Sweden's Noren and American Ryan Palmer into sudden death.
Palmer was eliminated with a par at the first playoff hole, the par-five 18th, where Noren's third shot onto the green spun back toward the pin to leave him with a tap-in birdie and Day drained a tough, downhill eight-footer.
The remaining duo returned to 18 and birdied again -- both reaching the green in two.
After pars at the par-three 16th, the fourth play-off hole took them to the par-four 17th, where both Day and Noren were in a fairway bunker off the tee.
Both reached the green from there and both two-putted for par, Day's birdie effort stopping only inches short.
The light was fading as they returned to 18, where Day was in a fairway bunker and Noren in the first cut of rough just off the fairway.
Noren reached the green in two, leaving himself some 40 feet. Day laid up and stuck his third shot five feet from the pin.
Noren rolled his eagle attempt five feet past, and after Day drained his birdie Noren rolled in his.
Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, is seeking his first title since the 2016 Players Championship.
Noren, ranked 19th in the world and a nine-time winner on the European Tour, is in search of his first US tour title.