Northern Trust Open: Ryan Moore says Riviera playing tough

Northern Trust Open: Ryan Moore says greens are 'so firm and so bouncy' making birdies scarce

Birdies have been scarce in the second round of the Northern Trust Open, and Ryan Moore can tell you why.

“The greens are so firm and so bouncy,” he said. “I hit a handful of what I would say were as good a shot as I could possibly hit the last couple of days and I end up with 45-footers.”

That hint of frustration comes from a man who shot a three-under-par 68 on Friday to reach five-under for the tournament, which should be good enough to keep him in contention for the weekend at Riviera Country Club. Imagine how players farther down the leaderboard felt.

With much of the field still on the course, James Hahn held the lead at seven-under, one stroke ahead of Nick Watney.

Moore -- tied for third with Vijay Singh and Daniel Summerhays -- stopped short of criticizing the conditions.

“It’s very consistent throughout the whole golf course,” he said. “That’s all I look for. If there’s consistency, I’m happy with it.”


10:39 a.m.: Mornings have been gray and gloomy through the first two rounds of the Northern Trust Open, but they have also been calm -- none of that afternoon wind -- which has made for beneficial playing conditions.

Derek Fathauer and Angel Cabrera took advantage on Friday, starting early and rising up the leaderboard.

Cabrera made the biggest move, playing at four-under through his first 12 holes to hold a share of second place at five-under. Fathauer made two early birdies to grab the lead at six-under.

Not exactly a household name, Fathauer has approached the often-tricky Riviera Country Club with a simple strategy.

“Hitting it in the fairway. That’s it,” he said after the first round. And one more thing: “Making putts.”

As for the rest of the weekend, he said: “Just keep doing what I’m doing.”


9:30 a.m.: As the Northern Trust Open begins second-round play on Friday, don’t expect any big changes to the course at Riviera Country Club.

PGA Tour officials spent the better part of two weeks honing green speeds and rough height, setting up conditions that have so far challenged the field while allowing for occasional birdies. With six golfers sharing the lead at five-under par, officials seem fairly pleased with how things are going.

“We’re not going to jack anything up,” said Steve Rintoul, who oversaw Riviera’s preparation. “And we’re not going to go the other way and lay down.”

What does it take to prompt emergency alterations once play has begun?

At the 1979 U.S. Open, a player named Lon Hinkle discovered he could circumvent Inverness’ long No. 8 hole by driving onto the adjacent 17th fairway, then hitting back to the eighth green. Tournament officials were so concerned that after the first round they quickly huddled.

As a result of that meeting, a 25-foot spruce tree was purchased from a nearby nursery and planted in a strategic spot overnight. By the time the players arrived for the second round, the shortcut at No. 8 was blocked by what is now called the Hinkle tree.

Riviera should survive this weekend without any such alterations to its historic layout.

“The players don’t like surprises,” Rintoul said. “We just kind of maintain.”

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