Raining on the parade: weather causes havoc at Genesis Open as Tiger struggles
In a round where Tiger Woods kept missing short putts, J.B. Holmes took the lead because of a tee shot that needed no putting at all.
Holmes made a hole-in-one with an 8-iron on the par-3 sixth hole, followed with a birdie and wound up with an 8-under 63 for a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth when the first round finally ended Friday.
“It was awesome to see that,” Holmes said about his ace.
The ball landed well behind the pin on the left side of the bunker and spun back some 20 feet on the rain-soaked greens of Riviera.
“Hit it exactly how I wanted it and it went in,” Holmes said. “It looked good the whole time.”
Spieth first was set to tee off at 7:22 a.m. Thursday until the round was scrapped after his opening tee shot on No. 10 and eventually began anew seven hours later because of the rain.
He played six holes Friday morning to complete a bogey-free round of 64.
Woods didn’t start his 10th appearance at Riviera as a pro until Friday morning, and while he got off to a rough start with a pair of three-putt bogeys, he answered with four straight birdies around the turn.
But then he three-putted from long range on the 12th. The real blow was on the par-5 17th, where he missed a 20-foot birdie putt and then his 30-inch par putt missed the hole.
All four bogeys were from three-putts.
“I hit it well and putted awful,” Woods said. “Four three-putts is ridiculous.”
Justin Thomas and Adam Scott, whose lone victory at Riviera came in 2005 over 36 holes because of the rain, were in the group at 66. Jimmy Walker shot 67, as did Bill Haas, back at Riviera after he was involved in a fatal car crash last year.
Everyone will face a long day before the end of the week.
The plan was to make the cut Saturday afternoon, play until dark and then try to wrap up on Sunday. Two years ago, Dustin Johnson had to play 36 holes on Sunday.
Spieth took advantage of the restart on Thursday. His opening shot on the par-4 10th hit the cart path twice and went into shin-high grass so thick that it would have been hard work just to get it out. The round was scrapped and he returned for a routine par.
He made the rest look easy except for the 13th hole, where he hooked his tee shot into a eucalyptus tree, played a slice on the outer side of the trees and got up-and-down for par.
“It was probably better than any of the birdies,” he said.
He holed two chips for birdie, one of them on the toughest hole at Riviera on No. 12, birdied all three of the par 5s and made a pair of birdie putts from about 10 feet when he returned Friday morning.
He said those six holes were the best the putter has felt in some time.
“I was able to kind of figure out a way to feel some freedom in the stroke and I was able to roll a couple of those in,” he said.
Woods is the tournament host with his foundation running the event he first played in 1992 as a 16-year-old amateur. Next year, the tournament gets elevated status on par with the Memorial (Jack Nicklaus) and Arnold Palmer Invitational by offering a three-year exemption to the winners, getting a 120-man field and offering $9.3 million in prize money.
But the course has never been kind to him. Riviera is where Woods has played the most times as a pro (9) without ever winning.