Johnson on top as second round finally concludes
Johnson had to play two holes after the second round was suspended Friday by darkness.
He was at 11-under 131 and had a one-shot lead over Steve Stricker, who shot a 65 on Friday morning in a steady rain. Andres Romero was among the 41 players who had to return on Saturday, and his birdie gave him a 69 to finish three shots back.
Johnson and Stricker each made birdie on the 18th hole about 24 hours apart.
They were nothing alike.
Stricker hit a driver and a 3-wood and still couldn’t reach the front of the green. He chipped in for birdie from 60 feet. Johnson resumed his round under still conditions, with a break in the rain. He pounded a drive and had 177 yards to the hole with an 8-iron in his hand. Then, Johnson switched to a 9-iron – and flew the green.
The ball plugged into soggy turf, Johnson received a drop and chipped in.
“It was definitely an advantage to play it this morning,” Johnson said.
Ryo Ishikawa, the 18-year-old Japanese sensation, finished off another 68 and was in the group at 6-under 136, while Anthony Kim led the group another shot behind at 137.
Phil Mickelson, going after an unprecedented third straight victory at Riviera, was tied for 13th at 4-under 138.
Even more fascinating was the cut line.
The cut came at 2-over 144, with 81 players making it to the third round. That means there will be another cut after the third round.
While Johnson was trying to take the lead, his playing partners were trying to make the cut.
Justin Leonard, who missed his first two cuts of the year, needed to play the final two holes in 1 under. His 3-wood on the par-5 17th went into the rough, and with mud on his ball, he hit a 7-iron to a back right pin that cleared the bunker and settled 8 feet away for birdie. Then, he chipped up close and saved par on the 18th.
Leonard was checking on flights home to Dallas after finishing Friday, debating whether to book one for Saturday.
“Had my finger on the ‘buy’ button last night,” Leonard said.
Masters champion Angel Cabrera figured to have a good birdie chance on the 17th because of his length, but his wedge landed at the back of the green and spun back some 45 feet. He missed the putt, then saved himself. The big Argentine hit 8-iron into the 18th and holed a 20-foot birdie to make the cut.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18