Jhonattan Vegas and Sam Saunders tied for lead as storm suspends play at Genesis Open

Sam Saunders can lay claim to leading the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club for a second straight day. And he did it without picking up a club.

Play in the second round was suspended at 12:18 p.m. Friday when high winds and a driving rain from a powerful storm sweeping Southern California made the course unplayable. A large tree limb crashed to the ground not far from a spectator area near the 15th tee, making it also unsafe for spectators.

Tournament officials considered themselves lucky to get in as much play as they did. Early forecasts called for heavy rain around 11 a.m. However, the storm cells stayed north longer than expected, allowing several groups in the morning session to finish their round.

Play is scheduled to resume with the remainder of the second round at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Crews will be out on the course by 4:30 a.m. to start cleaning up debris, officials said.

“We hope to finish by Sunday afternoon,” said Mark Russell, vice president of competition and rules for the PGA Tour.

Only four groups in the afternoon session made it to the tee, Saunders was scheduled to tee off at 1:45 p.m.

“I was mentally prepared to not play today,” Saunders told the Golf Channel. “So I’m glad I was prepared for that. I went out and hit some putts and just tried to keep the feel going today so I’ll be ready and hopefully get off to a hot start tomorrow.”

Saunders did not hold the lead by himself. Jhonattan Vegas was also at seven under, shooting three under through 14 holes. At one point during the morning, Vegas was the sole leader by virtue of a birdie on the ninth hole. However, the lead only lasted two holes as he bogeyed the 11th.

Jason Kokrak was one shot back of the leaders at six under. He had three birdies and one bogey through 10 holes.

Cameron Percy was the leader in the clubhouse at five under after shooting a 71.

“It was just so hard out there,” Percy said. “It’s just hard to get in the fairway, and then you’re in the rough [and] you had to deal with mud balls.”

Percy said if someone had told him he could have even par before the round started, he would have taken it. That’s exactly what he shot with three birdies and three bogeys.

A big move was made by last week’s winner at Pebble Beach, Jordan Spieth. He was three under for the round and five under for the tournament through 16 holes. He had four birdies and one bogey in his partial round.

Also at five under were Ben Crane, two under for the day after 11, and John Huh, who was even par after 10. Dustin Johnson and J.T. Poston  were also at five under but did not tee off on Friday.

Ten players were tied at four under.

john.cherwa@latimes.com

Twitter: @jcherwa


UPDATES:

1:05 p.m.: This article was updated with the suspension of play for the day.

11:45 a.m.: This article was updated with Jhonattan Vegas slipping into a first-place tie with Sam Saunders.

10:55 a.m.: This article was updated with Jhonattan Vegas taking over the lead.

10:20 a.m.: This article was updated with details about Jhonattan Vegas moving up on the leaderboard.

This article was originally published at 10:05 a.m.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
75°