Sam Burns clings to lead as winds interrupt Genesis Invitational

By Field Level Media
Feb 20, 2021; Pacific Palisades, California, USA; Sam Burns hits from the fifth hole tee box during the third round of The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Burns remained in the lead for a third consecutive day after a wind-swept third round of the Genesis Invitational on Saturday that was halted because of darkness at Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Burns was at 2-over par through 13 holes when play was paused at Riviera Country Club. The stoppage came at a good time after Burns had a bogey on each of his final two holes to fall to 10 under for the tournament as temperatures dropped quickly in the dry conditions.

“The golf course is playing really tough,” Burns said afterward. “It’s a hard golf course with now wind and you get 20-plus (mph) and it makes it that much harder, but I think we did a good job of just trying to put it in the right spots and go from there.”

After holding a five-shot lead heading into the third round, Burns will head into the resumption of third-round play early Sunday with a two-shot advantage over England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was at 3 under through 17 holes Saturday and 8 under for the tournament.

The final round Sunday will follow the completion of the third round.

Wyndham Clark, Dustin Johnson and Max Homa were tied for third place at 7 under. Clark was 1 under through 15 holes Saturday. Johnson and Homa each completed 13 holes with Johnson at even par for the day and Homa 1 under.

“The conditions were tough all day,” Johnson said. “Obviously the winds were blowing pretty strong and the greens were firm and fast. It was difficult, but it’s a fair test and obviously I will come out (Sunday) and see what I can do.”

Wind gusts early Saturday between 30-40 mph at legendary Riviera Country Club halted play just as Burns was about to start his round. He was addressing his ball at the No. 1 tee when PGA Tour officials blew an air horn to signify the stoppage of play.

Just before the five-hour delay began, Keegan Bradley had a long putt at the 10th hole blow off the green, roll between two bunkers and toward the rough.

At the green on the fourth hole, J.B. Holmes stood over a putt when his cap was blown off his head. Holmes backed off his putt as the wind then blew his ball across the green to the fringe.

It was the first time a tournament was paused because of wind since the second round of the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews, England.

“From what I was told, the balls weren’t staying on the greens,” said Burns. “Obviously there is a fine line between tough and fair and I think the line was crossed so they did a good job of stopping play.”

Jordan Spieth, who was tied for sixth place at the start of play Saturday at 6-under par, struggled in the windy conditions and was at 2 over through 15 holes before play was stopped. He is at 4 under and in a tie for 12th place.

Patrick Cantlay was alone in sixth place at 6 under after playing 16 holes Saturday. Tony Finau was in a group of five tied for seventh place at 5 under after he completed his round Saturday and shot a 1-under 70.

–Field Level Media