Ace boosts Johnson



LOS ANGELES --- Dustin Johnson made a hole-in-one and Steve Stricker had seven birdies to brighten an otherwise dreary day at rainy Riviera and finish atop the leaderboard Friday at the Northern Trust Open.

Johnson's 8-iron from 152 yards landed between the pin and the famous bunker in the middle of the green at No. 6, spinning back into the cup for an ace that put him in the lead for most of the afternoon. He had two holes left when play was halted by darkness.

Stricker, playing in a morning rain that never relented, chipped in for birdie on the 18th and nearly made an ace on No. 4 when his hybrid from 230 yards lipped out. He shot 65 and had the clubhouse lead.

"I'm very happy to be done with the round, to tell you the truth," said Stricker, who is at 10-under 132. "It was pretty miserable out there today."

Johnson, also 10-under after making his lone bogey on the 15th, was to return this morning to face the par-5 17th and the 473-yard closing hole at Riviera.

The 18th was playing so long in the cold and rain that some players barely reached the green with a 3-wood.

Johnson and Stricker were three shots clear of Andres Romero, who had three holes remaining. Forty-one players failed to finish the second round.

Phil Mickelson, trying to become the first player to win three consecutive years at Riviera, had 66 and is at 138.

Darkness came early because of the gray clouds, and completing the second round in such conditions was impossible.

Players had to spend extra time on every shot to wipe off the grips of their clubs and the brims of their hats.

Late in the day, the maintenance crew had to roll water off the soaked tee boxes.

That made the performance of Stricker and Johnson even more remarkable.

"Dustin Johnson is 11-under," Paul Goydos said in amazement as he walked off the 11th tee. "That's like being 47-under through three rounds at the Hope."

"I don't like it, but do I mind playing in it? No. Everyone has got to play in it," said Johnson, a former Coastal Carolina golfer who grew up in Columbia.


Dustin Johnson, with two holes left in his second round, is tied for the Northern Trust Open lead. \nStricker

On the line

Evans resident Vaughn Taylor is on the cut line at the Northern Trust Open. Taylor was 1-under through 12 holes of the second round when darkness halted play. He's at 1-over for the tournament, which is the projected cut.

Augusta native Charles Howell is 4-over through 13 holes, 5-over for the event.

-- From staff reports


Thu, 08/17/2017 - 23:20

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