Johnson leads at Riviera

Johnson turned a marathon finish into a Sunday stroll in the Genesis Open.

Johnson overcame some errant iron shots mid-round, storming home with three birdies in the final four holes for a five-under-par 66 on the damp and unusually lush Riviera course.

"Thirty-six holes can be a really good thing sometimes if you're playing really well, which I feel like the golf game, I'm in control of it right now", he said.

"I don't really understand it but I can read the 1, 2, 3". "The best in the world - until now I probably wouldn't have said I was the best in the world, but now I can say it". That was a big key.

After 47 consecutive weeks at the top, Day ceded his position when Johnson won the Genesis Open in southern California on Sunday.

But over the past 12 months, Johnson has taken his game to a new level, including winning his first major, the U.S. Open, and 2016 Player of the Year honors. The win at Riviera, one of his favorite courses, came after being close to it four times in last five years.

There was no doubt this time.

It capped off a strong stretch that elevated Johnson to the top. Needing to at least tie for third place in order to maintain that top billing, Day finished level with Peter Malnati and Anirban Lahiri in 64th. "I had in the back of my mind if I could get to 14 [under] today, I might have a chance", he said. Lanny Wadkins shot 20-under 264 in 1985.

That momentum didn't last, since he bogeyed 9, 15 and 16, snapping a string of par-or-better holes at 49 and shrinking his lead from 9 to an eventual 5.

"I didn't hit it good", he said.

He still had no complaints.

Having tapped in for the win, he walked across the 18 green to be greeted by his two-year-old son, Tatum, and fiancee, Paulina Gretzky. The three-time Ryder Cup participant is now expecting a second child with fiance Paulina Gretzky, daughter of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

Johnson put on quite the show this week and led the field in strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained total, was third in strokes gained putting, second in strokes gained tee to green and, no surprise here, led the field in driving distance.

The European Tour and Ryder Cup star plans on earning his PGA Tour card this season. He has not finished outside the top 10 at a PGA Tour event this calendar year so far.

Olympic champion Justin Rose finished in a four-way tie for fourth on 11-under, a shot ahead of Laird, who had an eagle and five birdies in his closing 66.

Now, a victory might be enough to move him to No. 1 in the world.

Being No. 1 in the world: "It gives me a lot of confidence". He was joined by Australia's Marc Leishman, Ireland's Padraig Harrington, South Africa's Branden Grace, South Korea's An Byeong-Hun and Americans Billy Hurley, Pat Perez and Kevin Na. "I look at his swing; it's not a swing you can copy".

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.



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