Genesis Open 2021: Sam Burns Takes Commanding Lead with 2nd-Round 66

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIFebruary 20, 2021

Sam Burns hits his second shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

Sam Burns is just 36 holes away from his first PGA Tour victory after extending his lead to five strokes at the Genesis Invitational on Friday. A second-round 66 moved the 24-year-old Louisiana native to 12-under on a day with a projected cut line of even par.   


Backing up 64 with a second-round 66. 💪 The overnight leader @SamBurns66 extends his margin to 4. https://t.co/2TvBVodtFP

That doesn't mean he's run away with the Genesis yet.     

Burns will have to fend off Jordan Spieth, Wyndham Clark, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Dustin Johnson and others on the top 10 of the leaderboard.

Here's a look at the standings heading into Saturday at Riviera Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California.


Genesis Invitational Friday Leaderboard

1. Sam Burns (-12)

T-2. Tyler McCumber (-7)

T-2. Jason Kokrak (-7)

T-2. Dustin Johnson (-7)

T-2. Joaquin Niemann (-7)

T-6. Max Homa (-6)

T-6. Jordan Spieth (-6)

T-6. Wyndham Clark (-6)

T-9. Alex Noren (-5)

T-9. Scott Harrington (-5)

T-9. Cameron Smith (-5)

T-9. Patrick Cantlay (-5)

T-9. Matthew Fitzpatrick (-5)

Notables: T-14. Brooks Koepka (-4), T-14. Tony Finau (-4), T-19. Jon Rahm (-3), T-28. Xander Schauffele (-2), T-41. Matthew Wolff (-1), T-56. Harold Varner III (E), T-56. Collin Morikawa (E). 

Missed Cut: Luke List, Doug Ghim, Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Ryan Armour, Bryson DeChambeau, Gary Woodland, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas 

Full leaderboard available via PGA Tour's official website.



After shooting a 64 on Thursday, Burns drained five birdies without any bogeys in Round 2. He recorded 2.19 strokes gained per putt while averaging over 300 yards on his drives. 

Birdies on the Nos. 1, 6, 10, 12 and 17 holes kept Burns in first place, though he missed opportunities to stretch his lead further by missing a birdie putt on the par-five No. 11 by barely two feet.

The LSU product hasn't picked up a pro victory since winning the Savannah Golf Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018. A win at the Genesis would go a long ways toward proving himself worthy of inclusion among the sport's emerging stars like Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland.

The rest of the field won't make it easy on him. 


Rolling them in from everywhere! The putter stays hot for @JSMunozGolf. 🐦 #QuickHits https://t.co/ObxsvAHWsX

Dustin Johnson, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, made a strong showing Friday, jumping 10 spots into a tie for second place with a round of 67. Johnson had his putter working extremely well as he birdied five holes with one bogey. 

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

😳 What a putt by @DJohnsonPGA. 📺: GOLF 💻: https://t.co/XGWm0aDGjC https://t.co/Xj33lwo6rd


"There's no chance of holing this." @DJohnsonPGA: https://t.co/MDd9cEXaOj


Another one for @DJohnsonPGA. 🐦 He joins four others at -6 (T5) @TheGenesisInv. #QuickHits https://t.co/BodtmIvWkX

If not for playing it safe and laying up on No. 18 to make par, Johnson could've held down second place by himself heading into Saturday. Instead, he's tied with three others looking to make their move.

For the third week in a row, Spieth has also shown a notable amount of poise on the course—something that's been lacking from his game in recent years. He shot back-to-back rounds of 68 to begin the weekend and hasn't let the occasional misstep plague his day. 


Birdie hunting. That's another one for @JordanSpieth to move into solo 3rd. #QuickHits https://t.co/UO9dy6xc9l


Tracking the whole way. 🕳 It's @JordanSpieth's second birdie of the day and he's rolling. #QuickHits https://t.co/aLSkJigqkP

Spieth birdied on the first hole but followed up with a bogey on No. 2. Yet he was under par before reaching the back nine. From there, the 27-year-old Texas native made three more birdies before missing a par putt on No. 18 by eight inches. A disappointing bogey on the final hole aside, it was the type of performance Spieth has shown himself capable of building off in recent weeks. 


Birdie for breakfast. 🍽 @BKoepka picks up his first one of the day at the par-5 11th. He's T5. #QuickHits https://t.co/VC97Mbnqop

He just hasn't been able to close out on a strong note. Spieth will have another opportunity to do so this weekend, this time without the pressure of holding on to a lead.        


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.