By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Author
LOS ANGELES (AP) — PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan seemed throughout Riviera within the early phases of the Genesis Invitational on Thursday and purposely said the plain. “There’s quite a lot of nice gamers out right here,” he stated.
Nice gamers had been on an incredible golf course, and the primary spherical was shaping as much as be a draw.
In beautiful situations, as soon as the solar climbed over the hilltop properties and temperatures warmed, Matt Fitzpatrick of England had the early lead at 5-under 66, courtesy of a 25-foot eagle putt and a 45-foot birdie putt.
Riviera was in mint situation, and being dry and agency made it more durable than it might need seemed.
Patrick Cantlay, coming off probabilities to win in Palm Springs and Pebble Seashore, prolonged his run of excellent play with 4 birdies on his again 9 and was in a big group at 67.
Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 participant on the earth who has performed Riviera as constantly properly as anybody over the past 10 years, could not reap the benefits of the par 5s and nonetheless scrapped his means round to a 68, primarily by taking 5 putts over the past six holes.
“You’ll be able to’t ask for a course in higher form,” Johnson stated. “The greens are good. It is agency and quick. This golf course performs actually troublesome when it is agency and quick. You need to be in the appropriate place otherwise you’ve obtained no likelihood.”
Fitzpatrick, the No. 20 participant on the earth who ended final 12 months by profitable the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on the European Tour, holed a 45-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th, made birdie on the subsequent par 3 on the sixteenth and after making the flip, holed a 25-foot eagle putt on No. 1, which has yielded extra eagles than any par 5 on tour since 2004.
“It is an incredible begin, could not ask for any higher,” Fitzpatrick stated. “I really feel like I battle somewhat bit on poa annua, so to see them how they’re this week, so agency and quick, they’re as true as I’ve ever seen. It is a large benefit of me.”
Defending champion Adam Scott opened with a 69.
Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Phoenix Open winner Brooks Koepka performed within the afternoon.
Riviera did not really feel all that nice when the day started simply after dawn within the chill and the breeze, particularly those that began the spherical on No. 10, among the many greatest brief par 4s in America.
The bottom was onerous. The wind was stiff. It felt near not possible to get something shut.
Scott was making an attempt to land his shot to the left and wanting the inexperienced. As an alternative, it hit onerous and ultimately bounced off a cart path behind the inexperienced.
“I had 75 yards to the spot I used to be making an attempt to hit,” stated Scott, who escaped with a par by making an 8-foot putt.
Johnson hit a 7-wood over the inexperienced and wanted two putts from 40 toes for a par that left him “thrilled” as he headed to the subsequent tee.
Cantlay was making an attempt to land it wanting the inexperienced, and as a substitute it landed 2 yards onto the inexperienced “and I used to be useless.”
He would have wanted a flop shot over the again bunker to a tiny touchdown space on the agency inexperienced, and determined as a substitute to pitch away from the flag and throughout the slim inexperienced to depart himself a 55-foot putt. It was a disciplined play, even after he three-putted for bogey.
“It did not really feel like I did something improper besides the outlet is basically, actually onerous when it is blowing 15 miles an hour downwind,” he stated.
His group of Jon Ram (70) and Collin Morikawa (73) performed it in 4-over par.
Cantlay, who gained a few half-hour up the highway at Sherwood final fall, had a 61 on the final day to complete runner-up in The American Categorical and adopted that with a tie for third at Pebble Seashore. He did not really feel a lot completely different at Riviera, which he has performed for a decade from his time at UCLA.
“Regardless that I bogeyed the tenth gap, which you are feeling you shouldn’t bogey as a result of it’s so brief, and I made one other foolish bogey on 15, I felt like my sport’s in such a great spot that it was solely a matter of time earlier than I rotated and made some birdies,” he stated. “Positively taking that confidence with me.”
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