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Sam Saunders shoots a 64, has two-shot lead at Genesis Open

Sam Saunders shoots a 64, has two-shot lead at Genesis Open
Sam Saunders hits a tee shot in the first round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades on Thursday. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Sam Saunders, playing his first competitive round at Riviera Country Club, blistered the course for seven birdies and took a two-shot lead midway through the first round of the Genesis Open.

Saunders, better known as the grandson of Arnold Palmer, made the tournament on a sponsor's exemption.

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He posted birdies on Nos. 1, 5, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17.

"It was a lot of fun out there," Saunders said. "It's never stress-free but it was as low a stress round as I have had. … I would say it's the best competitive round I've had in my career."

Dustin Johnson, J.T. Poston and Brett Stegmaier were at five under. Johnson and Poston had completed their round while Stegmaier was only through 10.

There were seven players tied at four under.

The tournament lost about 70 minutes of play because of two fog delays. It's unlikely everyone will finish their round today.

Thomas Pieters putts on the 11th green during the first round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16.
Thomas Pieters putts on the 11th green during the first round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16. (Robert Laberge / Getty Images)

Twitter: @jcherwa

UPDATES:

4:05 p.m.: This article was updated with current standings and additional information.

12:45 p.m.: This article was updated with current standings and additional information.

10:40 a.m.: This article was updated with current standings.

10:10 a.m.: This article was updated with current standings and additional information.

This article was originally published at 9:07 a.m.

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