Thomas, others facing marathon Sunday to complete Genesis Open
February 17, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Thomas takes one-stroke lead as play is suspended lead at Genesis Open
UPDATE (2:10 p.m. ET Sunday): The third round of the Genesis Open is now complete. Thanks to his 6-under 65, Justin Thomas will take a four-shot lead over playing partners Adam Scott and J.B. Holmes into the final round.
Thomas is 17 under through 54 holes, with Scott and Holmes at 13 under. Scott shot a third-round 69 while Holmes shot a 68.
Those three separated themselves from the rest of the field, as the next closest players after the third round were nine shots off the lead. The three had little downtime before starting their final rounds, with a scheduled 2:30 p.m. ET tee time.
Thomas, the 2017 FedExCup champ, is looking for his 11th PGA TOUR win and first of the 2018-19 season.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – On Friday, Justin Thomas played 30 holes at the Genesis Open in cold, rainy weather. On Saturday, the first dry day of the week at Riviera, he completed just eight holes despite continuous play from sunrise to sunset.
On Sunday, for the third consecutive day, he’ll wake up around 4:30 a.m. local time. At 5:45 a.m., he’ll start his warm-up routine (“That’s weird to say,” he mused). Then at 6:45 a.m., he’ll resume play with an approach shot into the par-4 third. He faces the task of finishing 34 holes, and the weather could be challenging. It’ll be in the 40s in the early morning, then a 40 percent chance of showers before noon.
But it will all be worth it if Thomas, seeking the 10th win of his PGA TOUR career, can seal the deal at Riviera. At 13 under, the former FedExCup champion has a one-shot lead over playing partner Adam Scott, with Patrick Rodgers and J.B. Holmes another shot back.
“I think I’ve seen briefly the forecast is pretty difficult,” Thomas said, “so I’m going to need to be patient because I’m playing so many holes. But long day and stay in it emotionally and stay patient [and] see what we can do.”
It’ll be a longer-than-usual day for all 76 players who made the cut. No one has completed the third round, which did not start until mid-Saturday afternoon as the seven-hour delay to start the tournament on Thursday continues to play havoc with the playing schedule. In essence, the Genesis Open is just past the halfway point even though the final day (hopefully) has arrived.
Play will resume at 6:45 a.m., and there will be no repairing after the third round as the TOUR tries to avoid a second consecutive Monday finish. Last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was won by Phil Mickelson on Monday as he and runner-up Paul Casey played two holes to finish their rounds.
For some players such as Thomas, it was a limited-action Saturday – up early to complete the second round, then a long rest before teeing off to start the third round. For others, it was a long, full day – an entire second round, followed by a partial third.
Rodgers, for instance, played 20 holes. He shoot a 4-under 67, fueled by a chip-in eagle from 131 yards on the par-4 seventh, then played two holes to start his third round, including an eagle at the par-5 opening hole. He’s now one of Thomas’ primary chasers on Sunday.
Thomas also eagled the opening hole late Saturday with a putt just inside 13 feet, moving him one clear of Scott, who in 2005 won at Riviera albeit in a shortened 36-hole event that is not recognized as an official TOUR win. That won’t be an issue if he can catch Thomas.
“There’s so much golf to play,” said Scott, whose only bogey through 38 holes played was a three-putt on the 17th hole in the second round. “… I’m happy with what I did out there. I’m not really influencing what [Thomas] does at this point in the tourney. It feels like it’s late in the tourney, but it’s only halfway.”
Still, he’s glad to be paired with Thomas for both the third and final rounds.
“Yeah, that’s good if I’m keeping up with him or ahead of him,” Scott said. “… It’s a big day, a lot of golf. It’s a great day to get your rhythm early and make a move. There’s a lot of guys up there at the moment … if it’s Justin or I, then you can kind of separate and hopefully by the middle of the final round you’ve taken a whole bunch of guys out of the equation.”
One of those guys definitely in the equation is Tiger Woods, who was just one shot above the cut line after the second round but vaulted into a tie for 14th with a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie start (off the 10th tee) in the third round.
“I’ve got some work to do,” said Woods, who hopes to get up-and-down to save par at the 17th once play resumes.
Among the notables ahead of Woods on the leaderboard are Rory McIlroy (8 under); last week’s runner-up Casey (8 under); three-time Genesis Open champ Bubba Watson (7 under); Jordan Spieth (7 under); and world No. 6 player Jon Rahm (7 under).
With lots of golf left to play and hopes of completing the tournament on Sunday, it should make for an interesting – and challenging – day.
“Going to be a marathon,” Thomas said.
Tiger Woods' approach from 249 yards sets up eagle at Genesis Open