Dustin Johnson trails Sam Burns by five shots with 36 holes to play at the Genesis Invitational. Yet, DJ is actually the favorite heading to the weekend.
Johnson is following a familiar pattern. Sometimes, he will take 18-27 holes to get his feel for an event before he makes his way to the top of the leader board and takes over an event. That seems to be where DJ is this week.
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In Thursday’s first round, it took Johnson a few holes to get things going. He parred the first four holes in his first round before suffering his only bogey of the day at the par-3 14th hole. He immediately rebounded with a birdie on 15 and would shoot an even-par 36 on his Thursday first nine.
DJ made four pars to start his second nine on Thursday. But he turned it on at the end of his round with birdies on three of his last five holes to shoot a 68.
Johnson’s Friday round was somewhat similar.
DJ parred the first hole before a bogey on the second. But he bounced back with birdies on number six and number nine to shoot a 1-under par 34.
Johnson started his back nine with a birdie on the 10th hole. He added a birdie on the 12th and another on the 17th hole. That left him with a 3-under par 33 and a 4-under par 67 for the day.
DJ will have several advantages as the weekend approaches.
First, he’s the best player in the world right now. That’s the biggest advantage of all. But also, if you look at the players in the Top 10 at this event, it’s not really a really strong group. The only names that really strike any fear in anyone are Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay.
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Another advantage for Johnson is that he has won at Riviera before. That will help him as the pressure mounts on other players on Saturday and Sunday.
Johnson continues to play outstanding golf and there’s no reason to think that he will stop doing so any time soon. No offense to Burns, but DJ is the clear favorite to bring home the title at Riviera this weekend.