Burns clings to Riviera lead as No. 1 Johnson lurks

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Sam Burns, chasing his first PGA Tour title, clung to a two-stroke lead over top-ranked Dustin Johnson after Sunday's conclusion of the third round of the Genesis Invitational.

World number 149 Burns made a bogey and four pars Sunday morning to complete a three-over par 74 round and stand on nine-under 204 after 54 holes at a cold and blustery Riviera Country Club.

"Just the way we hung in there the last five holes, I was proud of the way we kept fighting," Burns said. "I think that's something we'll have to keep doing the rest of the day."

Reigning Masters champion Johnson made three impressive saves among five pars Sunday to shoot 71 and share second on 206 with fellow American Max Homa and England's Matthew Fitzpatrick.

"Everything is going pretty well," Johnson said. "Game plan is still the same. Got to hit the fairways. It's going to be difficult. Take it one hole at a time and take what the golf course gives me."

High winds on Saturday produced unplayable conditions to halt the event for almost four hours, leaving 23 golfers to finish their third rounds Sunday.

"Even this morning the golf course was playing hard," Burns said. "The wind wasn't down much. Just grinding it out there at the end and see what happens next."

The 24-year-old American became the first player since Charlie Sifford in 1969 to lead the event after each of the first three rounds.

Burns saw his five-shot lead trimmed to two in the final minutes of play Saturday with back-to-back bogeys and a birdie at 16 by Fitzpatrick.

When play resumed Sunday morning, Burns stumbled to a three-putt bogey at the par-3 14th while Fitzpatrick closed with a bogey after missing the 18th green to finish a round of 69.

Burns avoided a fourth consecutive bogey by curling in a tense 12-foot par putt at 15.

At the par-4 18th, Burns buried his approach in the rough but chipped to nine feet and sank the putt to stay ahead by two entering the final round.

Johnson opened with a 17-foot par putt at the 14th, saved par again at 15 and blasted out of a greenside bunker within inches of the cup and tapped in to avoid a bogey at the par-5 17th.

"Hit a couple nice drives," Johnson said. "Hit some other nice shots just misjudged the wind a little bit. I'm happy with the way I'm swinging it."

American Wyndham Clark fell from a share of second place with a double bogey-bogey finish while three-time major winner Jordan Spieth stumbled with his countryman onto 209 with bogeys on four of the last seven holes.