Thursday, March 30, 2017

Johnson leads by one through 36 holes at Riviera

After back-to-back rounds of 5-under 66, Dustin Johnson leads the Genesis Open by one shot after 36 holes and three days of play at Riviera. Two days of inclement weather in Los Angeles have Johnson and the rest of the field set for a marathon Sunday as the tournament attempts to avoid a Monday finish. Here’s where things stand through two completed rounds at Riv:

Leaderboard: Johnson (-10), Pat Perez (-9), Cameron Tringale (-9), Jhonattan Vegas (-7), Patrick Rodgers (-7), J.T. Postan (-7), Scott Brown (-6), Charley Hoffman (-6), Luke Donald (-6), Kevin Na (-6)

What it means: Johnson is 36 holes from his 13th PGA Tour victory and the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. With a victory, Johnson can unseat current No. 1 Jason Day should Day also finish in a three-way tie for third or worse. It should come as no surprise that Johnson is yet again contending for the title at Riviera. In nine previous starts, he has six top-10 finishes with two runner-ups, including a 2015 playoff loss to James Hahn. In addition to netting Johnson the No. 1 ranking, a win would further extend his PGA Tour-longest streak of consecutive seasons with a victory to 10. Currently, the only two players since 1960 to win in each of their first 10 seasons after turning pro are guys named Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Round of the day: Cameron Tringale made seven birdies in a bogey-free round of 64 to move into a tie for second, one shot behind Johnson. He capped off his round in style at the 18th hole, holing out from 82 yards for a birdie-3 after hacking out of the right rough on his second shot.

Best of the rest: Johnson, Perez and Kyle Stanley signed for 66. Johnson has been mistake-free for 23 holes and owns the most bogey-free rounds (five) and most rounds of 66 or better (eight) by any player at Riviera since 2008.

Biggest disappointment: First-round leader Sam Saunders followed up a 64 with a 77 on Saturday. Saunders will play the final two rounds, but notable names to miss the even-par cut include Tony Finau (+1), Ryan Moore (+2), Brandt Snedeker (+2), Billy Horschel (+3), Brooks Koepka (+5), and Hideki Matusyama (+6).

Shot of the day: Tringale’s hole-out from 82 yards at 18:

Quote of the day: “I want to put myself in a position to win this golf tournament. That’s really all I care about is what it takes to get it done here. The rest of the stuff, the points and world golf rankings, I would like to get there, but I’m not worried about it.” – Johnson

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