Sam Burns carded a bogey-free 66 on Friday at Riviera Country Club, and will enter the weekend at the Genesis Invitational with a five-shot lead on 12-under par.
The 24-year old LSU product entered his second day in Pacific Palisades with a two-stroke advantage, and extended it by three, following an immaculate round of five birdies, to secure the pole position at the halfway point.
“I think, like I said earlier, I think we just tried to have a good game plan and just kind of stick with it out there all day,” said Burns, when asked about tying the lowest 36-hole score ever at Riviera.
“This golf course doesn’t necessarily give you a lot of opportunities at times, so just put it in the right spots. When you get in a tricky spot, just try to get it back in position.”
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson fired a second-day 4-under 67 and was among four players tied for second-place on 7-under par.
“I thought 4 under’s a really solid score around here anytime. I’m definitely pleased with it,” said Johnson, who won here in 2017.
“Obviously still didn’t play the par 5s quite as well as I’d like to, especially through the first two rounds. One under is not going to get the job done over the weekend. Definitely need to take advantage of the par 5s the next couple days. But other than that I feel like I’m swinging my irons really well, I’m rolling the putter nicely, so looking forward to the weekend.
“I like my position. I’m five back, but on this golf course there’s only one guy in front of me. I like where I’m at and I do like this golf course, and hopefully I can drive it a little bit better on the weekend and give myself a few more chance.”
With matching 36-hole scores of 67-68, Joaquin Niemann, Tyler McCumber and Jason Kokrak were the others in the T2 logjam, alongside Johnson.
One further back was a trio deadlocked on 6 under, including a resurgent Jordan Spieth, who signed for a 3-under 68, which included five birdies against two bogeys.
“I’m in good shape. I’m a little kind of — you know, I wish I would have grabbed one of the last few today,” said Spieth, who entered the tournament off two consecutive top-5 finishes.
“The last four holes I had good chances, so that kind of leaves me at, you know, where I kind of wish I had moved up to 7 or 8 under and got a little closer because six shots is quite a feat, but on a course like this it’s one where it certainly can be done. Just try and get myself close to the lead by the end of tomorrow, that will be the goal.”
Wyndham Clark (69) and Max Homa (70) rounded out the trio at T6.
A logjam of five more players were one further back on 5-under par, headlined by Patrick Cantlay (70) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (71).
Brooks Koepka carded 70 and was among another group of five players tied at 4 under.
The cut line was even-par, and headliners missing the weekend included Rory McIlroy (73-76), Justin Thomas (77-73), and Bryson DeChambeau (75-69), among others.
2021 Genesis Invitational
Top 5: Round-2
Pos-Player-To Par (Today)
1. Sam Burns -12 (-5)
2. Dustin Johnson -7 (-4)
2. Joaquin Niemann -7 (-3)
2. Tyler McCumber -7 (-3)
2. Jason Kokrak -7 (-3)
6. Wyndham Clark -7 (-2)
6. Max Homa -6 (-1)
6. Jordan Spieth -6 (-3)
12:43 pm – Noren (-5), Clark (-5), Spieth (-6)
12:54 pm – Homa (-6), Niemann (-7), Johnson (-7)
1:05 pm – Kokrak (-7), McCumber (-7), Burns (-12)