February 16, 2024

Can’t Stop Cantlay

The Riviera Country Club felt very familiar for Patrick Cantlay on Thursday during the first round of the 2024 Genesis Invitational. The UCLA product surged to the top of the leaderboard with a 7-under-par 64 to hold the first-round lead by one shot over Cam Davis, Luke List and Jason Day.

“I got off to a great start,” Cantlay said after his round. “Our group had good momentum, Jordan (Spieth) and I were a bunch under on the front nine and, you know, a day where I putted really, really well, made every putt I should have and a couple longer ones. It was a good start.”

Making his ninth start in The Genesis Invitational, Cantlay’s 64 stands as his lowest round carded in the tournament. On the slick Riviera greens, Cantlay made nearly 130 feet of putts in round one. He was second in the field in strokes gained putting.

Spieth and Tom Kim, Cantlay’s playing partners, both had solid days. Spieth, who won the 2012 NCAA Championship at Riviera with the Texas Longhorns, is tied for fifth at 5-under-66, while Kim is in at 2-under 69.

Will Zalatoris, the 2015 Collegiate Showcase winner who then made his PGA TOUR debut at Riviera, flirted with the lead throughout his round. The Wake Forest product is tied with Spieth for fifth after the first round.

The first round got underway at 7:20 a.m. on Thursday as Chase Johnson, the 2024 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption recipient, played in the opening pairing. He finished the round at 1-over-70.

In his first PGA TOUR event of the 2024 season, tournament host Tiger Woods posted a 1-over 72. But the score wasn’t the only take away on the day for Woods.

“I think the whole day we were chatty all day,” Woods said of his playing partners Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland. “It was great to just be out there with those two. We text and call each other all the time, so the fact that we were able to compete and play like that out there, I haven’t seen these guys in a long time. I see J.T. a lot at home, but I haven’t seen Gary at all. To be out there with him and just share the moment with him, it was a lot of fun.”

The feeling was shared by the group.

“T Dub and I are good friends and obviously J.T. and I are really close, so the energy was great all day,” Woodland said. “J.T. fought back great and Tiger I thought played beautifully today, putted it amazing. The energy was good between us all day, which was nice, and I think that helped calm me down a little bit as well.”

The Genesis Invitational’s second round gets underway at 7:20 a.m. on Friday. Limited tickets still remain.