Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kokrak leads at Riviera; big names lurk

Dustin Johnson reacts to a missed birdie putt on No. 8 at Riviera Country Club. He shoots 66 and is two strokes out of the lead.

Getty Images

Dustin Johnson reacts to a missed birdie putt on No. 8 at Riviera Country Club. He shoots 66 and is two strokes out of the lead.

LOS ANGELES — Jason Kokrak sensed something special was about to happen, and he could point to his name atop the leaderboard Friday in the Northern Trust Open.

For so many others, Friday was something out of the ordinary.

Jordan Spieth, the world's No. 1 player, made eight birdies and missed the cut by five shots. Charl Schwartzel had a double bogey and a triple — the latter when a shot hit him in the hand — yet shot 68 to remain in contention. Padraig Harrington realized during the round he was wearing someone else's right shoe.

Kokrak birdied all the par 5s at Riviera on his way to 7-under 64 to build a one-shot lead over Chez Reavie (67) at 10-under 132 after two rounds. Kokrak has never won on the PGA Tour, though power can go a long way on this course under these conditions and he has plenty of it.

"It's been a struggle to learn how to play this golf course," said Kokrak, who has no top-30 finishes here in four tries. "It's old school. It's very hard. But it's right there in front of you."

There was plenty of power at the top of the leaderboard.

Dustin Johnson (66) and Bubba Watson (68) were at 8-under 134. Johnson has been the runnerup at Riviera each of the past two years, and Watson won the event two years ago with a 64-64 weekend. Rory McIlroy (69) and Adam Scott (68) were four shots behind.

Johnson was hitting the driver so well that after a high cut that went 332 yards on the 12th hole, he tried the same shot on the 13th. He took it over the eucalyptus trees on the 458-yard hole, leaving only a sand wedge from 116 yards. He made par and made an impression on Adam Scott.

"Fourth hole of our day, he's swinging like it's 95 degrees and midday somewhere," Scott said. "The way he drives the golf ball is just unreal. He's an incredible talent and fun to play with, fun to watch."

As for Harrington?

He shot 70 in white, classic-style Foot-Joys. They looked the same. The fit the same. But only when he went to clean off the sole and noticed a different set of spikes did Harrington realize the right shoe was different from the left.

He was at 141, nine shots back.

McIlroy had a few careless three-putt bogeys, but he atoned for that with a majestic 3-wood up the hill from 285 yards to 20 feet for a two-putt birdie on the par-5 17th.

Spieth shot 68, not enough to make up for his opening 79, and will miss weekend play.

LPGA: Holly Clyburn shot 7-under 65 to take a share of the second-round lead with 46-year-old Catriona Matthew (69) at the Women's Australian Open in Adelaide. They were at 8-under 136, a shot ahead of Caroline Masson (71), Lin Xiyu (67), Jenny Shin (70) and Haru Nomura (68). Jack Nicklaus, who won his sixth Masters title at Augusta in 1986 at 46 — posted on Twitter after Matthew's round: "Hang in there and don't give up, finish strong! Everyone wrote me off at 46!"

Kokrak leads at Riviera; big names lurk 02/19/16 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  2. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  3. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brad Miller (13) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)