Johnson puts win above No. 1 spot

PACIFIC PALISADES (California) • Dustin Johnson edged closer to golf's world No. 1 ranking on Saturday, firing a five-under 66 to seize a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the weather- hit Genesis Open.

The US Open champion, who could potentially jump from No. 3 in the world to No. 1 with a long-sought victory at Riviera Country Club, had a 36-hole total of 132.

He was one shot in front of US compatriots Pat Perez, who closed with back-to-back birdies for a 66, and Cameron Tringale, who had seven birdies in an impressive 64.

Johnson, whose six top-10 finishes at Riviera include a play- off loss two years ago, could supplant Jason Day atop the world rankings if he can break through for a first win at the classic course west of Los Angeles.

"I want to put myself in position to win this golf tournament, that's really all I care about is what it takes to get it done here," he said. "The rest of the stuff, the points and world golf rankings, yeah, I would like to get there, but I'm not worried about it."

If Johnson wins, Day must finish no worse than a two-way tie for third to hold on to the top spot.

The Australian (70) was eight off the pace after completing his rain-disrupted second round early on Saturday. He was among the players forced off the course when wind and heavy rain swept through on Friday - when Johnson never made it to the first tee.

Day said the disruptions were less of a problem than his own "scratchy" game. "When you're thinking too much technique you're losing focus of actually the target - I'm getting in my own way, really," he said.

Eighteen players were within five strokes of Johnson's lead, including two-time Major winner Jordan Spieth (68) on 137.

Those missing the even-par cut included Japan's world No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama (80), who also had a chance to overtake Day with a win.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2017, with the headline 'Johnson puts win above No. 1 spot'. Print Edition | Subscribe