Friday, August 17, 2018

Dustin Johnson leads PGA's Genesis Open in bid to be world No. 1

LOS ANGELES — Dustin Johnson is closing in on that elusive victory at Riviera and a shot to reach No. 1 in the world.

He still has a long way to go.

Johnson made two tough pars around the turn then had three birdies over his last four holes for another 5-under 66 and a one-shot lead in the Genesis Open. It was a good place to be Saturday, except he was only halfway home at rainy Riviera.

The tournament lost an hour to fog Thursday then seven hours when heavy rain and wind arrived in Southern California on Friday and two more hours Saturday morning to get the course cleaned up for play.

So what day is it?

"Saturday," Johnson said. "Yeah, I think it's Saturday."

He was at 10-under 132 and had a one-shot lead over Pat Perez, who birdied his last two holes for 66, and Cameron Tringale, whose wedge from 82 yards flew straight into the cup on No. 18 for birdie and 64. Jhonattan Vegas finished his second round with four pars for 68. He was in a group at 7-under 135 with Patrick Rodgers (67) and rookie J.T. Poston (69).

Sam Saunders, who opened with 7-under 64 Thursday and didn't play at all Friday, shot 77. Arnold Palmer's grandson was right on the cut line and in danger of becoming the first player in four years to go from leading the first round to missing the cut until a long birdie on No. 17. Saunders was nine shots behind.

The PGA Tour got a big break when 71 players made the cut, making it possible to complete 72 holes by today. The third round was to begin late Saturday afternoon. Johnson, Perez and Tringale were unlikely to play again Saturday.

Johnson was in control of his game and focus going into a marathon today. He has said Riviera was the one tournament he wanted to win outside the majors because of his love for the course, even though it has given him nothing but heartache. He has had a chance to win four times in the past five years.

Johnson would have to win and have world No. 1 Jason Day finish out of the top three to go to No. 1 for the first time. Day had 70 and was eight shots back.

Johnson's other news Saturday? His fiance, Paulina Gretzky, daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, are expecting their second child, she announced on Instagram. The couple has a 2-year-old son.

CHAMPIONS: Miguel Angel Jimenez birdied two of the last four holes for a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples and Kevin Sutherland going into the final round of the Chubb Classic in Naples. Jimenez, tied for the lead after the first round, shot bogey-free 5-under 67 that got him to 12-under 132. Couples shot 65 and Sutherland 63.

LPGA: Lizette Salas shot 2-under 71 for a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Australian Open in Adelaide. Salas, who had 10-under 209 total, was 1 over after the front nine but rescued her round with birdies on the 14th and 15th and another on the par-5 17th. Su Oh had 68 and was tied for second with 36-hole leader Sarah Jane Smith (74) and Pornanong Phatlum (73).