Golf WorldFebruary 16, 2017

Genesis: Sam Saunders takes lead

Harry HowPACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 16: Sam Saunders lines up a putt on the 12th hole during the first round at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 16, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Sam Saunders took the first-round lead in the Genesis Open, a tournament his late grandfather Arnold Palmer won three times when it was known as the Los Angeles Open.

Saunders shot a seven-under par 64 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Thursday. Saunders, who has had only three top-10 finishes in 78 career PGA Tour starts, had seven birdies and no bogeys.

Palmer, who died last September, won the Los Angeles Open in 1963, ’66 and ’67, though none of those victories came at Riviera. Palmer’s three wins came when the tournament was held at the municipal Rancho Park Golf Course.

Dustin Johnson and Monday qualifier J.T. Poston both shot five-under 66s. Phil Mickelson recorded a four-under 67.