Lahiri drops to Tied-64; as Johnson dislodges Day to become World No. 1
20 Feb, 2017

Pacific Palisades, California, Feb 20: Anirban Lahiri had an eminently forgettable Sunday as he carded 76-73 in the final two rounds and plummeted to Tied-64th at the Genesis Open on Sunday at Pacific Palisades.

Lahiri, who was Tied-7th after 37 holes after rounds of 70-67, dropped a whole lot of shots in both third and fourth rounds and ended way back in a tie-with World No. 1 Jason Day (70-70-75-71).

Final scores at Genesis Open

Meanwhile Dustin Johnson produced a world-class performance to not only win the tournament but also rise to World No. 1 at Riviera.

With his win at the Genesis Open, Johnson overtakes the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking from Jason Day. Johnson becomes the 20th different player to achieve World No. 1 status.

Playing on a marathon Sunday, Johnson added 64-71 to his first two rounds of 66-66 and finished 17-under, a whopping five shots clear of second places Thomas Pieters (63) who made good his special invite for the event.

Meanwhile, there was some other Indian connection with 19-year-old Sahith Theegala, a Pepperdine University amateur golfer, posted scores of 67-73-71-71—282 (-2) to finish T49. Theegala is of Indian origin and his parents are Indian.

Johnson finished the third round in the morning with a 7-under 64 to build a five-shot lead, and stretched it to nine shots at one point in the final round and coasted home to a 71 and a five-shot victory.

Also, with his win this week, Johnson joins Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as players to have won at least once on the PGA TOUR each of their first 10 seasons on TOUR.

"It sounds good," Johnson said when asked about being the top player in the world. "I played really great all day. I couldn't have driven it any better. That was a big key."

Johnson became the 20th player to reach No. 1 since the world ranking began in 1986, ending Jason Day's 47-week stay at the top.

"He deserves it because he's been playing great golf," Day said.

Johnson won for the fourth time against some of golf's strongest fields dating to his U.S. Open victory last summer. The win at Riviera, one of his favorite courses, came after being close to it four times in last five years.

The win at Riviera came a week after his third-place showing at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Johnson also collected 500 FedExCup points and moved to No. 6 in the standings with 803 points.

Also, with his win this week, Johnson joins Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as players to have won at least once on the PGA TOUR each of their first 10 seasons on TOUR.

The win, his 13th on the PGA TOUR, comes in his 206th TOUR start at the age of 32 years, 7 months, 28 days.

Before hitting back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16, Johnson was on pace to tie or break the 72-hole tournament record of 20-under 264, held by Lanny Wadkins from 1985.  

Johnson was making his 10th start in the Genesis Open this week, where he has now collected an impressive seven top-10 finishes.

Johnson’s bogey at the ninth hole in round four was his first in 50 holes. His only previous blemish came at the par-3 fourth hole in round one (began his round on No. 10).

Since 2008, no one has more rounds of 67 or better at Riviera CC than Dustin Johnson. In 36 rounds played at Riviera, he has played 13 of them at 67 or better. The next nearest player on the list is J.B. Holmes, with nine.

Belgium’s Pieters, playing on a sponsor invitation, made eight birdies, including one from 15 feet on the 72nd hole, en route to a final round, bogey-free 63, good for a career-best T2 finish at 12-under 272. The 63 matches the lowest score of the week with Wesley Bryan, who did in third round.

With his two-way tie for second, Pieters collects 245 non-member FedExCup points, taking his total to 306. Pieters, who will compete in this week’s The Honda Classic and the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship the following week, requires an additional 13 points to match the points earned by the player at No. 150 in last season’s FedExCup standings (319 by Greg Owen) to become eligible for Special Temporary Membership to the PGA TOUR.

Pieters was making his seventh career start on the PGA TOUR and has yet to miss a cut. This week’s Genesis Open marks his first top-10 showing.

Pieters, 25, was selected by Darren Clarke to compete on last year’s Ryder Cup team, where his 4-1 in his five matches became the best record by a European rookie in Ryder Cup history. 

Pieters, who had received a sponsor invitation into this week’s Honda Classic, will now play based on his top-10 finish at the Genesis Open. The sponsor invitation will be offered to another player.

Interestingly, while at the University of Illinois, Thomas won the 2012 NCAA individual title at Riviera Country Club and was the National Player of the Year

South Carolina native Scott Brown birdied two of his last three holes in the final round to post a 4-under 67 and finish at 12-under 272 and T2 with Thomas Pieters.

With his T5 finish at the Genesis Open, Augusta, Georgia native Wesley Bryan made a big move in the FedExCup standings, jumping from 154th to 88th.

Beginning the final round on No. 10, England’s Justin Rose closed with a 3-under 68 to claim a share of T4 with Wesley Bryan and Kevin Na at 11-under 273.

Meanwhile, there was some other Indian connection with 19-year-old Sahith Theegala, a Pepperdine University amateur golfer, posted scores of 67-73-71-71—282 (-2) to finish T49.

Theegala won the Collegiate Showcase at Riviera on Monday of tournament week to earn a spot into this week’s field. He shot a 2-under 69 to beat UCLA’s Tyler Collier by one stroke. The sophomore has a team-best 70.78 scoring average after six events this season. Last summer, he made it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills. This is the third year of the Collegiate Showcase. Last year, Illinois’ Charlie Danielson won, eventually finishing T72 in the Genesis Open. This week’s Genesis Open was Theegala’s PGA TOUR debut.

Jason Day, who will lose his World No. 1 ranking with Dustin Johnson’s victory, could manage no better than an even-par 71 in the final round, good for a 2-over 286 total (T64). The last time Day made a cut in a non-major event on the PGA TOUR, but was unable to break 70 was at the 2016 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship (72-74-71-71).


Full name:Dustin Hunter Johnson

Height:6-4       Weight: 190

Birthday:June 22, 1984

Birthplace:Columbia, South Carolina

Residence:Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Family:Son; Tatum (1/19/15)

Turned professional:2007


Lahiri shoots fine 67, vaults to seventh at Genesis Open; Dustin Johnson leads

Pacific Palisades, California, Feb 19: Anirban coming back to the golf course on Saturday without having a single shot on Friday, worked his way into contention at the Genesis Open at the Riviera, for what will be a long and busy Sunday. Lahiri, who had a one-under 70 on first day, added a 67 on second and birdied the only hole he played in the third round before fading light ended play.

Lahiri is now six-under for 37 holes and will play 35 on Sunday. He is lying Tied-7th and four shots behind the 36-hole leader, Dustin Johnson (66-66), who could become World No. 1 if he wins and Jason Day finishes lower than a two-way tie for third. Day (70-70) is Tied-53rd at one-under after 41 holes.

Pat Perez (67-66) and Cameron Tringale (69-64) are Tied-second at nine-under 133, while three players are tied at seven-under 135. Lahiri is one of the 10 players at seven-under 137 and Tied-7th.

The globe-trotting Lahiri, who has already made on two-week trip to Asia and will make another one-week visit for his own Hero Indian Open, a title he won in 2015, has been handling his Transatlantic travels well.

Tied-19 at Dubai, he was T-7 in Malaysian Championships and is now Tied-7th midway through the Genesis Open at the Riviera.

Lahiri had five birdies and his only bogey came late in the evening on the par-5 17th, where he missed a shot par putt. He had birdies on first, third, sixth, 10th and 13th. Then late in evening there was just enough time for one hole, the first, which he birdied for the third time this week to get to six-under.

Lahiri, who had a tough start as the weather meant start-stop-start on first day itself, said, “We had four delays and it took us an hour and a half for two and half holes. But I didn’t have to play much yesterday (Friday) when it was the hardest. I have had 4 am wake up calls on Thursday and today (Saturday), but it probably evens out in the end.”

He added, “I have played in Asia, in Malaysia and Singapore, where you can spend days sitting out and play late evening. I think after the rains, the course was playing longer, maybe even 500 yards, but softer. The roughs were up but with crowds trampling on it, you could get a decent lie.”
Still Lahiri was optimistic about his play. “I am feeling good and positive. I got in a few birdies (in the second round) and have generally been feeling good about my game last couple of weeks. I did have some unforced errors but lot of bogeys in first 36 holes. And yes, I am ready for 35 holes on Sunday.”

Apart from Lahiri, there is another player of Indian origin, Sahith Theegala, whose parents are of Indian origin. Theegala is making his PGA Tour debut and with a start of 67-73 he is Tied-43rd and had made the cut. Lahiri met him briefly, and said, “He hasn't played much amateur golf in India, so he's been a bit under the radar. But obviously, he's a really good prospect.”

Round 2 - Rain means no play for Lahiri in second round

Los Angeles, Feb 18:Anirban Lahiri had to sit and wait out of the rainy Friday as wind, rain and snapping of large tree limbs stopped play in the second round of the Genesis Open.

Lahiri shot one-under 71 in first round and was lying Tied-51st at the Riviera.

Sam Saunders remained atop the leaderboard without ever hitting a shot Friday at Riviera. He carded 64 on first day and he was joined by

Jhonattan Vegas who completed his first round on Saturday morning.

The wind made it difficult to pick the right club and the rain made it difficult to gauge the speed on the greens. But finally, it was the cracking of a eucalyptus tree that made PGA TOUR officials call off play.

Hideki Matsuyama, who had a mathematical chance to reach No. 1 in the world this week with a victory, returned Friday morning to complete the first round and made three straight birdies for a 68. But he was then six-over through 15 holes in second and would need birdies to make the cut.

Defending champion Bubba Watson still had two holes to play and was 8 over, virtually assured of missing the cut.

Among those who didn't play on Friday was Dustin Johnson, who opened with a 66. He needs a victory to have a chance to reach No. 1, depending on how Jason Day fares. The world's No. 1 player was at 2-under for the tournament with three holes to play.

Round 1 - Lahiri gives away gains towards end, as Palmer’s grandson leads

Pacific Palisades, California, Feb 17: Anirban Lahiri must be ruing yet another disappointing finish after having worked hard for most part of the first round at the Genesis Open. Lahiri, who was in the first group to tee off from the tenth in the opening round, ended with a round of one-under 70 at the Riviera, where weather forecast for Friday and part of the weekend is not very good. A monster storm of rain and wind is expected on Friday.

Lahiri had an eventful opening nine, on the backside of the Riviera, where he had four birdies and three bogeys to be one-under at the turn. Birdies on first and fifth put him at three-under with four holes to go. But back-to-back bogeys on seventh and eighth, missing putts inside four feet and three feet, pushed him back to one-under.

Putting, which is never easy at the Riviera, which one of the lowest conversion rates from Greens in regulation, was once again the cause of anguish.

The morning was great for scoring after the fog lifted, but Lahiri, who had to endure a stoppage after just two holes, was unable to take full advantage as he missed a lot.

Fading light in the evening meant 48 players were yet to complete their first round.

At the top, Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer returned a clean card at Riviera on Thursday for a 7-under 64 and an early two-shot lead in the Genesis Open. Young Saunders called it his best round and what’s more, it came on the 50-year anniversary of Palmer defending his title at the Los Angeles Open. The event was then played at Rancho Municipal.

Saunders was two clear of Dustin Johnson, who could become World No. 1 if he wins this week. Daniel Summerhays, Cameron Percy, J.T. Poston and Brett Stegmaier joined Johnson at 66, while veteran Phil Mickelson was among those at 67.

Jordan Spieth was at 2 under and had a 50-foot birdie putt in sight on the 17th, while Jason Day was at even par through 16 holes while Hideki Matsuyama was one-under through 16 holes.

Johnson, whose brother Austin was in the bag, also endured a bee sting in his round of 66.

Playing his fifth straight event, Mickelson, 46, was eagle-birdie-birdie around the turn shoot 67.

Preview - Lahiri finds body clock ready again for Genesis Open on West coast

Pacific Palisades, California, Feb 16: After flying through various times zones over the last two weeks, Anirban Lahiri arrived into California in time for the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club for what will be the last leg on the West Coast.

Lahiri made a decent start on the PGA Tour this season, including a third place at CIMB, though late last year in October, when the current season kicked off in Malaysia. In five starts in 2016-17, Lahiri has made four cuts, and has decent finishes with all four inside T-28. He was T-3 in Malaysia and T-13 in RSM Classic in November. In 2017 he missed the cut in Hawaii but was T-25 at CareerBuilder, before he played in Dubai for T-19 and then again in Malaysia on the Asian-European Tour event, Maybank Championships, where he was T-7.

He said, “I am looking forward to a great week at Riviera. The body seems to be coming back to the correct time zone, slowly but surely. There is a major rain/flood situation expected on Friday-Saturday. So, we don't know how much golf we will get in. That, obviously makes it important to get off to a good start on Thursday.”

On his return to Riviera after a year, he said, “One year later the course definitely feels more familiar. I have most of my game plans ready so that helps cutting down preparation time for sure. I am feeling more confident and self assured than last year. Hopefully I can produce a good result and push toward a berth at Augusta.”

At the same course, when the event was called Northern Trust Open, Lahiri was T-39, which included two good rounds of 67 and 69 on second and third days.

Two weeks after Genesis, Lahiri will be back in India for the Hero Indian Open, on Asian and European Tours, which he won in 2015 and finished second in 2016.

This year, called the Genesis Open, it has 20 of the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings but talk still revolves around how Tiger Woods had to pull out because of back spasms in Dubai. Woods, whose charity Tiger Woods Foundation, is involved here, played the first round in Dubai and then withdrew. A few days later he announced pulling out of Genesis and the following week.

Woods came back to competitive golf after 17 months at the Hero World Challenge and played full four rounds. That’s been the only time he has played full four rounds, as he missed the cut at Farmer’s Insurance at Torrey Pines in last week of January.

While Woods is missing, Jordan Spieth is coming off his first career victory in California, last week at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Riviera, the host course of this week’s Genesis Open, has among the toughest greens on the PGA TOUR to putt on. Last season, Riviera was the toughest course for putts inside 10 feet and inside five feet.

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