Dustin Johnson paves overnight lead at Riviera

First Round – PGA Tour – Northern Trust Open – Riviera Country Club – Pacific Palisades, California –

Dustin Johnson opened his week at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open with a 5-under-66 to secure the overnight lead at Riviera Country Club.

Johnson, who finished runner-up last week to Jimmy Walker at Pebble Beach, scattered six birdies against a lone bogey. Coming in at No. 11 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Johnson was the overall betting favorite at heading into the week at 12-to-1 odds.

A group of 11 players are a shot back including Walker, Charley Hoffman, Scott Stallings, Robert Garrigus and Italy’s Francisco Molinari. Garrigus was 2-over through four holes before rallying back up the leader board.

One player at 4-under includes J.B. Holmes, who still has two holes to complete his opening round on Friday morning.

Justin Rose, making his 2014 debut, shot 1-over-72 hitting just nine Greens in Regulation. He is T-35 along with Jason Dufner and Webb Simpson.

Several players expected to contend struggled in round one including Bill Haas.

Haas, a champion here in 2012 and T-3 finisher last year, started off 2-under through three holes but bogeyed four of his next five holes. He ended up shooting 1-over-72 and sits alongside Jordan Spieth at T-85.

Matt Kuchar, ranked 9th in the world, shot 3-over-74. He is T-109 at the moment with a low round needed to make the weekend cut. Louis Oosthuizen also shot 74.

Other Golf News:

  • Caroline Hedwall (11-under) leads Suzann Pettersen by a shot half way through the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open. Lydia Ko is T-4.
  • The Champions Tour returns this week at the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Florida. The 54-hole event tees off Friday.
  • Chasing Walker’s three PGA Tour wins this season, Stallings last won at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, while Johnson captured the WGC-HSBC Champions in November.
  • Portugal’s Ricardo Santos (14-under) leads the European Tour’s Africa Open when play was delayed by weather. Santos finished his second round play. Thomas Aiken is three back at 11-under overall – 6-under through eight holes in his second round.