Scott, Thomas lead at rain-hit Riviera

Justin Thomas hits out of the rough at Riviera Country Club’s 18th hole in the second round of the rain-hit Genesis Open. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: Australia’s Adam Scott and American Justin Thomas topped the leaderboard at 10-under par on Friday when darkness halted play in the second round of the weather-disrupted Genesis Open.

Scott and Thomas both posted five-under par 66s on Friday, and each was five-under for the second round when darkness fell on another rainy day at Riviera Country Club, where organisers were scrambling to get the tournament back on track for a Sunday finish after a seven-hour weather delay on Thursday.

Tournament host Tiger Woods made little headway on the marathon day, struggling with the putter in a one-under first round and still one-under, tied for 55th, through 12 holes of the second.

“It was a tough day,” Woods said. “I’m stiff right now. It got pretty chilly towards the end, the ball wasn’t going very far.”

Woods strung together four birdies in a row in the middle of his first round, but his troubles on the greens kept him from building any momentum.

“I putted awful today,” said Woods, whose 44-foot eagle putt at his 10th hole in the second round was an anomaly on a day when he hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation in the first round but had four three-putt bogeys.

No sooner had the eagle enlivened his round than he had two straight bogeys before play ended.

“I didn’t hit it that bad, felt like I controlled it well enough and just a terrible day on the greens,” he said.

Despite the long day in tough conditions, Woods noted that plenty of players — more than 70 — were under par.

“You have to go get it, and JT did it and I just wasn’t able to do it,” Woods said, lauding playing partner Thomas.

“He made tough conditions look easy,” Woods said.

Thomas totalled 14 birdies in his day’s 30 holes — seven in the first round and seven through 12 holes in the second.

“I’m just proud of myself the way I fought out there today,” he said.

Awesome ace

Thomas and Scott were one stroke clear of J.B. Holmes, who led after a first-round 63 highlighted by a hole in one at the par-three sixth.

“It was awesome to see that,” Holmes said of the ace, which landed past the hole and spun back some 20 feet. “I wanted to get it past the hole because I knew how much they were coming back. Hit it exactly how I wanted it and it went in.”

At nine-under with nine to play, Holmes was two strokes in front of Luke List, who was seven under with three to play, and American Jordan Spieth — who was seven-under and due to tee off in the second round on Saturday along with half the field.

Spieth added two more birdies to a bogey-free 64 as he played the last six holes of his first round on Friday morning before having the afternoon off.

Scott, no stranger to disruptive weather at Riviera where he won the title in a 2005 edition shortened to 36 holes, said maintaining momentum amid the starts and stops was tricky.

He played 25 holes without a bogey before dropping a shot at his eighth hole of the second round — the 17th, but fired back-to-back birdies before play was halted.

“I just got the momentum going and I kept it going,” Scott said. “I wasn’t really in much trouble, but I up-and-downed it when I had to.”