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Burns matches course record at Riviera as McIlroy misses first cut since 2019

The 24-year-old American threatened to run away from a star-studded field at the Genesis Invitational.

Sam Burns is setting the pace at the Genesis Invitational, but Rory McIlroy has checked out early.
Sam Burns is setting the pace at the Genesis Invitational, but Rory McIlroy has checked out early.
Image: PA

SAM BURNS MATCHED the 36-hole course record at Riviera on Friday, firing a five-under par 66 to seize a five-stroke lead at the US PGA Genesis Invitational.

The 24-year-old American threatened to run away from a star-studded field with a bogey-free round to stand on 12-under 130 at the halfway mark.

World number one Dustin Johnson, the reigning Masters champion, shot 67 to share second on 135 with fellow Americans Tyler McCumber and Jason Kokrak and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann. Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth was on 136 with fellow Americans Max Homa and Wyndham Clark.

Riviera’s 36-hole record 130 was set first by American Davis Love III in 1992 and matched earlier by Canada’s Mike Weir and Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama in 2004.

Burns, chasing his first PGA title, was unfazed at claiming a part of history at the Tiger Woods-hosted event, whose prior winners at Riviera include Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Johnson. 

“I don’t know, really,” he said when asked what the record meant. “We just tried to have a good game plan and stick with it out there all day. This golf course doesn’t necessarily give you a lot of opportunities, so just put it in the right spots.”

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Rory McIlroy missed the cut for the first time in 26 starts since last failing to reach the weekend at the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush. Seventh-ranked McIlroy shot 76 to finish on 149. Pádraig Harrington, two strokes further back, also won’t be around for the weekend.

Reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau (144) and third-ranked Justin Thomas (150) were among the others who failed to make the cut.

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© – AFP, 2021 

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