Genisis Open 2017: Dustin Johnson holds second-round lead

By Art Spander, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 19, 2017 at 4:16 AM
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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.--The men who play the PGA Tour do some remarkable things.

You know the slogan: "These guys are good."

But they are still beholden to the laws of nature, so the sun goes down and invariably the round is over.

Saturday at the Genesis Open, officials desperate to schedule play in a tournament hit by one rain delay after another had the leaders scheduled to tee off 19 minutes after sunset.

The last group featuring leader Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez and Cameron Tringale were to drive off Riviera Country Club's elevated first tee at 6 p.m. PST, but play was called at 5:43.

It has been a tough couple of days with three inches of rain Friday creating a sloppy, soggy, muddy course, one suspension after another and delays in announced restarts. The unfinished second round was to begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday but didn't get underway until 9 a.m.

At least the second round is over and after regrouping, only the last two threesomes -- Jhonattan Vegas-Patrick Rodgers-J.T. Poston and the Johnson group, were unable to get at least one swat at a ball in the third round.

Johnson was at 10-under par 132 with Perez and Tringle one back.

Tringale, who had the best score of the second round -- a 7-under par 64, stated the obvious about Sunday: "It's going to be a long day."

Play is to begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday for the 61 players who made the cut of even-par 142. Included in that group is Jordan Spieth, winner of last weekend's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, who is tied for 11th at 137, and first-round leader Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, who after a 64 shot 77. Phil Mickelson is at 2-under 140.

Johnson is the U.S. Open champion. Apropos of nothing but pertinent to everything in star-crazy southern California, his fiancee is Paulina Gretzky, daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

Just before Johnson teed off Saturday, Paulina let it be known she is expecting the couple's second child.

The sparse gallery at Riviera could very well be expecting Johnson to hold on and finally get the victory in the event, once known as the Los Angeles Open, which barely has eluded him.

He was fourth last year, second in 2015 and 2014. He has five top-five finishes at Riviera.

"I really like it," said Johnson of Riviera. "I think it sets up good to my eye. I've always enjoyed playing here, and yeah, I've had a lot of good finishes, so it definitely gives me a lot of confidence going into the last two rounds."

The forecast for Sunday is partly cloudy with a high of 61 degrees. The Genesis is the last event on the West Coast swing that began in early January in Hawaii, and officials are intent on getting the event finished before the Tour shifts to Florida.

Trigale equalled Saunders for low round of the tournament. "I got the putter working," he said. "I hit it great the first round and didn't hole out much. Today I made some putts disappear."

NOTES: If Dustin Johnson holds on to win and Jason Day doesn't come in third or higher -- Day was tied for 40th, eight shots back after two rounds -- Johnson would replace Day as No. 1 in the world rankings. "My long game has been a little scratchy," Day said after two 1-under 70s. "I didn't hit it good. It was quite terrible. But somehow you got to get it in when stuff isn't going right." ... Missing the cut was Brandt Snedeker, who seven days earlier tied for fourth in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Hideki Matsuyama, who led the Tour money list going into the Genesis, also missed. ... Cameron Tringale, in his 199th PGA Tour start and tied for second with two rounds to play, has never won but has three-second place finishes. ... Pat Perez, tied for second, said he shortened his swing this week. "And I'm hitting it straighter," said Perez. He had surgery on his left shoulder in March of last year, didn't play for seven months and then won in Mexico in the fall.

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