Friday’s roundup: Rain wipes out afternoon at Riviera
Los Angeles — Wind, rain and the snap of a large tree limb were enough to stop play Friday in the second round of the Genesis Open.
Sam Saunders remained atop the leaderboard without ever hitting a shot Friday at Riviera.
Jhonattan Vegas joined him at 7-under par and was all too happy to wait until Saturday morning — maybe — to complete his second round. The wind made it difficult to pick the right club. The rain made it difficult to gauge the speed on the greens.
But it was the crack of a eucalyptus tree that made PGA Tour officials sound the horn to get players — and spectators — off the course.
“We could have played a little bit more, but why? It’s going to get nothing but worse,” said Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of competition. “We wanted to get them out of there when the trees started snapping.”
No one was hurt, although Russell said he heard some spectators had to scramble to safety when the eucalyptus limb fell some 30 yards behind the third green.
It was tough on a few players, too, at least between the ears.
Hideki Matsuyama, who had a mathematical chance to reach No. 1 in the world this week with a victory, returned Friday morning to complete the first round and made three straight birdies for a 68. He likely will have to finish with three straight birdies Saturday just to make the cut. Matsuyama was 6 over through 15 holes.
Defending champion Bubba Watson hasn’t had much go his way this week, even when it does. He couldn’t decide on a club at No. 5 and came up well short of the green, only to chip in for a birdie. Standing on the tee at the par-3 sixth, with a bunker in the middle of the green and the pin left and to the back, Watson jokingly lamented, “The one time I don’t want to hit first.”
He still had two holes to play and was 8 over, virtually assured of missing the cut.
Cameron Percy of Australia was among 24 players who finished his second round. He shot a 71 and was at 5-under 137. Zac Blair and Martin Laird each shot 68 and were finished at 4-under 138.
Graeme McDowell birdied three of his last eight holes for a 70 and was at 3 under, along with Daniel Summerhays (73) and Keegan Bradley (70).
Very much in the mix was Jordan Spieth, playing in the same group as Watson. He was the last to hit on No. 6 and had no idea what was going on when he hit his shot.
“You can’t do that,” Spieth said as the wind failed to bring it back to the right toward the green.
“Are you kidding?” he asked when his shot appeared to go well beyond the bunker to the left of the putting surface.
And then he heard a smattering of cheers.
The shot landed on a hill beyond the green, rode the slope back down to about 10 feet and he wound up with a birdie. He was at 5 under with two holes to play, and depending what the weather has in store, that might not be a bad place to be.
Spieth, coming off a victory at Pebble Beach last week, was headed for his 19th consecutive round under par on the PGA Tour.
“We knew it would be interesting today, and last week actually was great prep for it because we played through conditions like this that first round,” Spieth said. “Things aren’t going to always go your way on a day like today. Actually, rarely they’re going to go your way. … Tough break on this wave, but that happens, too. Go out tomorrow and play a strong last couple of holes and see if we can take advantage this weekend.”
Still to be determined was whether the rain — and any debris — would allow the second round to resume at 7 a.m. Saturday. Ideally, the second round would end in the mid-afternoon, making it still possible to complete 72 holes by Sunday.
Among those who didn’t play on Friday was Dustin Johnson, who opened with a 66. He needs a victory to have a chance to reach No. 1, depending on how Jason Day fares. The world’s No. 1 player was at 2 under for the tournament with three holes to play.
Day already had one highlight. He began his second round on No. 10, and his drive was so far to the right that it was in front of the temporary green, leaving him no shot except to bounce it up the narrow strip of turf separating two bunkers. He pulled it off perfectly, the ball stopped 8 feet away and Day walked off with a birdie.
At Adelaide, Australia, Sarah Jane Smith shot a 6-under 67 in tough, windy afternoon conditions at Royal Adelaide to take a one-stroke lead in the Women’s Australian Open.
The Australian had a 36-hole total of 9-under 137.
Lizette Salas shot a 70 to join fellow American Marissa Steen (71), Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum (70) and Sweden’s Caroline Hewwall (69) at 8 under.
First-round leader Katherine Kirk dropped into a tie for sixth at 7 under after a 74. The Australian had a late double bogey.
Michelle Wie shot a 71 to reach 5 under. She had to overcome back spasms for most of the round that started with a double bogey.
Second-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand had her second straight 72 to get to 2 under. Top-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand was even par after a 75.
At Naples, Fla., Miguel Angel Jimenez had a late eagle and closed with a birdie for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Chubb Classic.
Doug Garwood and Scott Parel joined Jimenez atop the leaderboard on the Talon Course at The TwinEagles Club. Mike Goodes had a 66, and Scott Hoch, Tommy Armour III, Bob Tway, Duffy Waldorf and Tuesday qualifier John Elliott shot 67.
Jimenez hit a 3-wood to 10 feet to set up the eagle on the par-5 sixth — his 15th hole of the day — and made a 9-footer for birdie on the par-4 ninth. The 53-year-old Spaniard has three victories in 23 career starts on the 50-and-over tour.
Fred Couples and John Daly topped the group at 68 along with Jerry Kelly, the three-time PGA Tour winner making his senior debut.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 69. Also the Chubb Classic winner in 2011 and 2013, the 59-year-old German star won the season-opening event at Hualalai for his 30th tour victory.
At Perth, Australia, Australia’s Brett Rumford shot a 7-under 65 at Lake Karrinyup to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds in the World Super 6.
Rumford had a two-round total of 13-under 131 in the event sanctioned by the European, Australasian and Asian tours. David Bransdon was second after a 64.
The tournament featured a regular cut after the second round, reducing the field to the top 65 and ties. There will be a cut to 24 after the third round, with the top eight receiving a bye into the first of a series of matches Sunday.