LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dustin Johnson took a one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open by chipping in for birdie from behind the 18th green Saturday morning for a 4-under 67 going into a weekend that figured to be just as soggy.
Johnson had to play two holes after the second round was suspended Friday by darkness.
He was at 11-under 131 and had a one-shot lead over Steve Stricker, who shot a 65 on Friday morning in a steady rain. Andres Romero was among the 41 players who had to return on Saturday, and his birdie gave him a 69 to finish three shots back.
Johnson and Stricker each made birdie on the 18th hole about 24 hours apart.
They were nothing alike.
Stricker hit a driver and a 3-wood and still couldn’t reach the front of the green. He chipped in for birdie from 60 feet. Johnson resumed his round under still conditions, with a break in the rain. He pounded a drive and had 177 yards to the hole with an 8-iron in his hand. Then, Johnson switched to a 9-iron – and flew the green.
The ball plugged into soggy turf, Johnson received a drop and chipped in.
“It was definitely an advantage to play it this morning,” Johnson said.
Ryo Ishikawa, the 18-year-old Japanese sensation, finished off another 68 and was in the group at 6-under 136, while Anthony Kim led the group another shot behind at 137.
Phil Mickelson, going after an unprecedented third straight victory at Riviera, was tied for 13th at 4-under 138.
Even more fascinating was the cut line.
The cut came at 2-over 144, with 81 players making it to the third round. That means there will be another cut after the third round.
While Johnson was trying to take the lead, his playing partners were trying to make the cut.
Justin Leonard, who missed his first two cuts of the year, needed to play the final two holes in 1 under. His 3-wood on the par-5 17th went into the rough, and with mud on his ball, he hit a 7-iron to a back right pin that cleared the bunker and settled 8 feet away for birdie. Then, he chipped up close and saved par on the 18th.
Leonard was checking on flights home to Dallas after finishing Friday, debating whether to book one for Saturday.
“Had my finger on the ‘buy’ button last night,” Leonard said.
Masters champion Angel Cabrera figured to have a good birdie chance on the 17th because of his length, but his wedge landed at the back of the green and spun back some 45 feet. He missed the putt, then saved himself. The big Argentine hit 8-iron into the 18th and holed a 20-foot birdie to make the cut.