Vegas ties Saunders for lead before rain halts play

Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela moved into a tie for the lead with Sam Saunders before rain and wind halted play for the day in the second round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.

Vegas birdied four of the first nine holes, taking a one-stroke lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole before making a bogey at No. 11, and was 3-under-par for the round and 7-under for the tournament after 14 holes when play was stopped.

The second round will continue Saturday morning, weather permitting.

“To be honest, I just stayed super patient,” said Vegas, whose two PGA Tour victories came in the 2011 Bob Hope Classic and the 2016 RBC Canadian Open. “You know you are going to hit bad shots and you have to get them up-and-down for par.

“There are opportunities on this course and you have to take advantage of them. I made some good putts to keep the round going.”

Saunders, trying to win the old Los Angeles Open that his grandfather, Arnold Palmer, captured three times, never got on the course in round two after taking a two-stoke lead with an opening 7-under 64.

Jason Kokrak was 2-under for the round through 10 holes and one stroke back in solo third, while Cameron Percy completed a second-round 71 and was another shot back in a tie for fourth with Jordan Spieth, 3-under for round two through 16 holes; Ben Crane, 2-under through 11; John Huh of Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge, even -par after a five-foot eagle putt at No. 10, his last of the day, and Dustin Johnson and rookie J.T. Poston who didn’t hit a shot after opening 66s.

Zac Blair and Martin Laird of Scotland posted second-round 68s and were three strokes back in a tie for 10th with Wesley Bryan, who was 2-under after 11, plus Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Marc Leishman of Australia, Pat Perez of San Diego, Billy Hurley III, Kevin Na of Diamond Bar and Branden Grace of South Africa–who all did not start round two.

Top-ranked Jason Day of Australia was 1-under through 15 holes for the round and five behind in a tie for 34th that included Justin Thomas, a three-time winner this season who was 2-under through 15, plus Jim Furyk, Justin Rose of England and Matt Kuchar, who did not start the round before it was stopped.

Bubba Watson, who won the tournament two of the last three years, was 5-over through 16 holes for round two and 15 shots behind in a tie for 134th on his way to missing the cut.

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