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Dustin Johnson's usual weekend form at Riviera allows him to climb into contention at the Genesis Open

February 17, 2018
Sport: Genesis Open - Round 2

Paul Mounce - Corbis

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Since 2009, no other player has shot lower at Riviera Country Club on the weekend than Dustin Johnson. A two-time winner of the Genesis Open, including a year ago, he is a combined 43 under over the final two rounds.

Johnson’s total included a seven-under 64 on Saturday, when he climbed from eight back at the start of the day to within four of leader Bubba Watson thanks to a closing 29 on Riviera’s front nine.

“I knew making the turn, I looked over at [my caddie] and I said, We’ve got 27 holes to see how good we are,” he said. “We can get back in this thing if we play really well.”

That he did.

It started on the par-5 first, where Johnson drove it 320 yards but through the fairway. The kikuyu rough didn’t matter. He reached the green in two anyway and rolled in a 12-footer for eagle.

Johnson added two more birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, holing a 32-footer from off the green on the latter, and another two at 6 and 7 before making a good par save on the eighth, where he found the rough off the tee, missed the green left and still got up-and-down.

“I felt like I played just solid today,” he said. “I had looks on most of the holes. Even the greens that I missed, they were just right on the fringe and they were fairly close to the hole.”

Should Johnson win on Sunday it would be his second victory of the year after winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui last month.

To do so he’ll have to chase down a familiar foe: Four years ago, it was Watson, also a two-time winner at Riviera, who shot 64-64 the last two days to beat Johnson.