All the Hollywood glitterati have been members of Riviera Nation Membership in Tinseltown’s heyday and many huge names nonetheless are. However the star on Saturday was an invisible one, noticeable by what the gamers felt, and what their golf balls did, leaving some in disbelief.
Play was halted for 4 hours at the Genesis Invitational due to the unwelcome mixture of unusually excessive winds for this time of 12 months in L.A., and greens that have been reduce and rolled to ranges just too slick to comprise golf balls in such circumstances (see: Keegan Bradley’s calamitous putt on the tenth gap).
By the time play did resume, the wind had lightened considerably. However no matter absurdity had subsided, the course didn”t lose any tooth. Riviera performed two strokes more durable on Saturday than it did in the first two rounds and solely 4 holes on the total course—par 5s and par 3s—performed beneath par when play was halted attributable to darkness.
Listed here are our takeaways from the third spherical, which will likely be accomplished on Sunday morning.
Think about in the future with the ability to inform your youngsters that you simply stared down Tiger Woods, clipping him by two pictures the first time you ever performed collectively, then you definately gained Woods’ match at certainly one of golf’s nice gems Riviera, the place Woods, for all his greatness, by no means hoisted the trophy.
That’s the alternative laying at the ft of Sam Burns, who three years in the past was a wide-eyed 21-year-old paired with Woods throughout the third spherical of the Honda Basic. He was virtually speechless in the second and couldn’t really feel the membership in his fingers. “He performed superbly,” Woods mentioned of his taking part in associate that day. “He’s making an attempt to construct momentum and construct his exempt standing. Right now and this week was a huge step for him.”
Burns is previous making an attempt to realize exempt standing, however Sunday will likely be a huge day with the probability for a totally different form of standing, particularly given the bevy of stars giving chase and the issue of the course.
At one level, it seemed like Burns would possibly run away from the competitors. Whereas virtually everybody else struggled, he held principally regular, making seven pars by his first seven holes, highlighted by an unbelievable up-and-down from an unimaginable spot in the tough proper of the par-3 sixth. At one level, Burns went 31 straight holes with out a bogey and the lead finally stretched to 5, even after the bogey-free streak ended on the eighth gap.
However bogeys on his final two holes of the day—Nos. 12 and 13—together with a missed birdie alternative on the par-5 eleventh—dropped his benefit to simply two over Matthew Fitzpatrick. It’s most likely a good factor that the horn blew when it did, although the par-3 14th gained’t be a straightforward place to start out when he resumes his spherical at 6:50 a.m. native time on Sunday.
Spieth’s wild trip continues
We’re used to the ups and downs of a Jordan Spieth spherical, and for a third straight begin are even warming to the thought of him being in rivalry on a common foundation. However the comeback remains to be a work in progress, as evidenced by a balky putter on Saturday.
As soon as tied for second and three off the lead, Spieth stumbled late, doubtless killing any probability of ending his almost four-year winless drought this week.
The slide began on the twelfth, the place his strategy didn’t maintain and the ball rolled by the inexperienced. He chipped to 3 ft however missed the par putt. Two holes later, another miss, this from seven ft, and another bogey. Then yet one more bogey on the fifteenth.
Spieth was two over on the spherical and six strokes again when play was known as.
I don’t know which shot was higher, the one which Fitzpatrick hit to tap-in distance on the par-4 eighthor the shot of it from the Goodyear blimp. Each have been a factor of magnificence.
That birdie was additionally certainly one of 4 in a row for the Englishman, who went 3-2-3-3 on Nos. 5 by 8. Then got here another gem, a 22-footer for birdie on the par-3 sixteenth to maneuver into solo second earlier than play was known as for the day.
It was additionally an extremely wild afternoon for Fitzpatrick, who at one level went 10 straight holes with out a par. It was indicative of what sort of day it was at Riv.
“This golf course does it to you,” he mentioned. “You have actually obtained to stay in, you have to plot your manner round and miss in the proper areas.”
Homa delivers the shot of the day
For all the speak of the tenth gap being the best quick par 4 in golf, it has turn into fairly one-dimensional nowadays. As reported earlier in the week, most gamers for years now have been opting to attempt to drive it someplace close to the entrance left nook of the inexperienced, slightly than laying up, which has been proved to be a dangerous thought given the severity the inexperienced, even for a wedge.
Nonetheless, the gap can produce memorable moments. Max Homa’s up-and-down for birdie there on Saturday will go down as certainly one of them.
After Homa drove into the entrance proper bunker, he was left with a clumsy and seemingly unimaginable 30-yard shot to a slick placing floor with little inexperienced to work with. Someway, he spun the shot to 6 ft in need of the gap. Then he made the putt, the ball trickling simply in.
Tied for third and simply three off the lead, if Homa goes on to win that may doubtless find yourself being the shot of the match.