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Johnson hits the front at Genesis Open as Lowry withdraws

The American is looking for his first win of the season while also closing in on top spot in the world rankings.

Current leader Dustin Johnson.
Current leader Dustin Johnson.
Image: Ryan Kang

DUSTIN JOHNSON PLAYED his way into the lead on a rainy afternoon at Riviera, California.

After the second round of the Genesis Open was halted because of rain and wind that snapped large limbs from eucalyptus trees, he made two early birdies and holed three more on the 15th, 17th and 18th to card a second successive 66 for a ten under par total at the halfway point.

Johnson, who has had a chance to win four of the last five years at Riviera, needs a victory to possibly reach number one in the world ranking.

That would depend on Jason Day, who is eight shots back after a second round 70.

Venzuala’s Jhonattan Vegas (-7) joins American trio Pat Perez (-9), Cameron Tringale (-8) and Patrick Rodgers (-7) in the chasing pack, while Jordan Spieth finished with two pars for a 68 — his 19th consecutive round under par on the PGA Tour — and is five shots off Johnson.

Six players who stood little chance of making the cut didn’t bother returning Saturday morning. They included Ireland’s Shane Lowry and defending champion Bubba Watson.

Two of the withdrawals were sponsor exemptions — Bryson DeChambeau, who had a hand injury, and Jinho Choi, who was 10 over for his round through 11 holes.

After shooting second rounds of 70 and 72 respectively, Graeme McDowell and Padraigh Harrington are among nine golfers tied for 31st on three under par.

The second round faced another two-hour delay Saturday morning to get debris cleaned up and water out of the bunkers. Play finally got going in another light rain, possibly leading to more delays if the course can’t handle any more water.

The course received 3 inches of rain.

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The PGA Tour hopes to finish the second round and make a 36-hole cut, then start the third round Saturday afternoon and get in as much golf as possible. Officials were still optimistic, without any more delays, of finishing 72 holes. Otherwise, play would spill into Monday.

The other possibility was to reduce the cut to lowest numbers of players to 60th place, but that would apply only if the intention was to play all 36 holes on Sunday.

- Additional reporting by Ben Blake 

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