Sixty-eight players made the 36-hole cut at one-over 143 today at the Riviera County Club. Some of the crowd favorites, like Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Jason Day, missed the cut.
Matt Kuchar leads the field at 9-under after scoring 64-69 . Tournament host Tiger Woods barely made the cut at even-par 142 and will start on the 10th tee at 8:47 a.m. Saturday with Adam Hadwin and former world No. 1 Jordan Spieth.
“This is a hard course,” Kuchar said after he came into the clubhouse. “I love this place, though. You think of Riviera and you think, ‘What a great golf course.’ I feel like it has stood the test of time. It was great when Hogan played here, it’s great at the moment, and you see a wall of champions that includes so many great guys and so many different types of players.”
His high regard for the Riviera was echoed by Australia’s Adam Scott, who had the low round of the day, a bogey-free 64, and is two strokes behind. “I enjoy coming here and I just feel like the course, there’s nothing tricky to it. I really like a lot of the holes here,” Scott told the press. “Somehow I manage to putt generally well here when its one of the courses that guys struggle most on tour with.”
Another former Tour leader, Rory McIlroy, who is also two strokes behind Kuchar (along with Harold Varner III and Wyndham Clark), told the press, “It’s one of these [courses] where if you hit it off-line, you’re going to have a chance to recover and use your short game and get away with a par and move it to the next hole. That’s the beauty of the Riviera, you don’t necessarily have to have your best as long as you manage your game well, you’re always going to be there with a chance.”
On the 590-yard 17th hole, Max Homa hit his second shot into the stands surrounding the green. The rules committee was called, and he was allowed to drop his ball in front of the stands. Despite this break, he bogied the hole and finished at 1-under after 36 holes.
Jhonattan Vegas hit his ball between the stands and into some wires on the ground. Once again, the rules committee allowed him to drop his ball without a penalty and he nearly chipped it in for a rare eagle, leaving himself a 27-inch putt that he sank.
When Kevin Chappell hit his second shot to the right on 17, the ball went behind tall bleachers. His caddy climbed to the top of the bleachers, so that Chappell knew where to aim for the hole. He wedged the ball over the bleachers, much to the delight of the crowd, and ended up with a par.
Sungjae Im had a similar shot to Chappell’s that also landed behind the bleachers. Once again, the golfer had a blind shot to the green, so his caddy went to the top of the bleachers to give him a target towards the pin.
While Im was setting up, one of the spectators in the stands said that Im’s shot on the 9th hold went to the right and hit a spectator, knocking him out. On 17, Im lofted his shot over the bleachers and the heads of the spectators and got a par.
Dustin Johnson, McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay all hit their second balls near the wall at the back of the green on 17, and barely had room to swing. Johnson, smiling, took it in stride, and chipped his third shot into the hole, scoring an eagle. McIlroy had a birdie and Cantlay a par.
Many of the players who landed on the green in three at 17 had trouble putting and missed their birdie putts. Your CTN reporter watched nearly three-fourths of the groups on the green today, only one threesome–Aaron Baddeley, Varner and Charley Hoffman–had three birdies.
Try to make it to the Riveria this weekend: Food and drink are abundant, the golf spectacular and the weather exceptional. (Visit: genesisinvitational.com)