PGA Tour

Justin Thomas comes out on top of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at Genesis Open

Some big names, including the world number one struggled on day one of the Genesis Open

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were outshone by playing partner Justin Thomas on day one of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club.

Thomas fired a 69 that left him just three shots back from the leaders.

McIlroy posted an even par 71 that included an eagle and three bogeys as he struggled with his new Taylor Made putter in the bag for the first time this week.

He was his usual brilliant self when it came to striking the ball, but on the greens he struggled in the same way he has throughout much of his career.

The Northern Irishman is confident that he is close to finding his form in that department though.

He said: “I’ve hit good putts out there that just sort of slid by. It’s not as if I’m hitting wide, I’m not missing the hole by a few inches. It’s sort of just sliding by the edges. So it’s not too far off.

“A little bit of speed work, a little bit of technical work and hopefully a few will drop for me tomorrow.”

Woods sprayed his driver around the course, hitting just four fairways but managed to turn the up and down day into a reasonable round of 72 (+1).

Playing alongside McIlroy and Woods in the marquee group, Thomas excelled, making five birdies on his way to a two under par round.

After the round he said: “Happy with where my game is tee to green, and just need to get a few putts to drop.

“Actually I felt like I hit some good putts that just didn’t go in. But yeah, a little bit of work on the green this afternoon and I’ll try to do a little bit better tomorrow.”

World number one Dustin Johnson fell to a three over par 74 that included a triple bogey to fall down the field at the Riviera Country Club.

It puts him in real danger of missing his first cut since last year’s US Open in June.

Of the many big names in the field, Bubba Watson fared best. His three under par 68 leaves him in a great spot to try and claim a third victory at the tournament.

At the top of the leaderboard is Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau who both posted 66s to lead the way at five under.

There is plenty of work to do for many of the big names in the field if they want to make the weekend, let alone put themselves in contention to win the tournament.

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