PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Sam Burns shot 64-66 at Riviera Country Club to tie the 36-hole mark at the Genesis Invitational, where he will take a five-shot lead into the weekend.
His 130 total brings him into the conversation of breaking one of the longest-held records on the PGA Tour.
In the 1985 playing of this event, Lanny Wadkins shot a 20-under 264. It remains the longest-held 72-hole scoring record among current Tour events.
On Thursday Burns took his first-ever 18-hole lead. He jump-started his week with an eagle on No. 1 and has piled up 12 birdies since then. He didn’t have any bogeys on Friday after carding two of them on Thursday.
“I’d like to think that I have all the tools to win out here,” he said Friday. “Obviously there’s a lot of good players, really, really good players. I try not to get caught up in that and just trying to get better each week and just trying to build as the season goes on.”
Burns has the confidence of none other than Sir Nick Faldo, who made Burns his pre-tournament pick to win this week.
Late in the day Friday, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson closed out a 4-under 67 to join a four-way tie for second.
Johnson had a bogey on 2 and then birdies on Nos. 6, 9, 10, 12 and one last one on the par-5 17 when he got up and down from the rough for a 4.
“I’m five back, but on this golf course there’s only one guy in front of me,” he said, mentioning that he knew Burns was at 12 under because Burns was done before the Johnson-Adam Scott-Bubba Watson group teed off.
“I like where I’m at and I do like this golf course, and hopefully I can drive it a little bit better on the weekend and give myself a few more chances.”
Johnson says he needs to find more success on the par 5s at the Riv. His birdie on 17 was the first on a par 5 this week.
“One under is not going to get the job done over the weekend. Definitely need to take advantage of the par 5s the next couple days,” he said. “I feel like I’m swinging my irons really well, I’m rolling the putter nicely, so looking forward to the weekend. I like my position.”
He said he’s already heard from his swing coach as well.
“I got some texts from Claude (Harmon), so I know what to do tomorrow when I go to the range.”
Also chasing is Tyler McCumber, who backed up his first-round 67 with a Friday 68. He’s doing this after emergency surgery to have a fingernail removed. After his second round, he said the pain is easing up a little.
“You just kind of adapt a bit. It’s pretty wild how quickly the body does adapt to things. I thought it was a little better today just to kind of focus on the golf and not really worry about the finger,” he said. “I made the call to leave my glove on so you don’t have that hassle of pulling it on and off over the stub thing. That was good.”
McCumber is at 7 under alongside Jason Kokrak, who also shot 68 on Friday, as did Joaquin Niemann, who had three birdies in a four-hole stretch and then closed with eight straight pars.
Jordan Spieth is among three golfers tied for fourth at 6 under, six shots back after he posted a second straight 68. Spieth tied for fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and tied for third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“Sam had some success on the greens and everywhere else, but it’s not like you can go chase people on this golf course,” he said.
Max Homa and Wyndham Clark are also 6 under.
There are five golfers at 5 under, tied for ninth: Patrick Cantlay, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Scott Harrington, Alex Noren and Cameron Smith.
Brooks Koepka is hanging around after his Friday 70. He’s in the next group at 4 under overall, eight shots back. He is one of six golfers at 4 under.
“I just got my neck popped, so it feels a million times better,” Koepka said after his round. “One of the guys just did it, Brian. It’s a miracle. I feel so good right now, I feel so much better than I did this morning. This morning was absolutely brutal.
“I don’t know if I slept on a funny like a month and a half ago or what, but it’s just been tight for a while.”
Defending champion Adam Scott shot 69-73 to make the cut on the number. His lone birdie on Friday on the 16th got him to the weekend.
Among the players who won’t be teeing it up this weekend: Bryson DeChambeau (+2), Rory McIlroy (+7) and Justin Thomas (+8).
Woods to arrive on Saturday
Tournament host Tiger Woods, whose TGR Live, the event management arm of the TGR Foundation, runs the tournament, announced on Instagram on Friday that he plans to arrive on Saturday. He’s not playing this year after undergoing a fifth back surgery in December.