February 17, 2024

Cantlay creates a cushion

Patrick Cantlay teed off Round 2 of the 2024 Genesis Invitational with the 18-hole lead. Throughout the afternoon, the Long Beach, Calif. native cushioned his margin on the field, posting the clubhouse lead at 13-under-par 129 after 36-holes. The trio of Jason Day, Luke List and Mackenzie Hughes are tied for second at 8-under, five shots back.

Cantlay’s second round got off to a hot start as he carded an eagle on the par-5 opening hole. Four additional birdies on the day, with no bogeys, resulted in a second-round 6-under 65.

“Yeah, it feels like a home game,” Cantlay said of the friendly crowd. “Like I said, it’s a golf course I played so many times, I feel comfortable. And it’s really nice to have a bunch of guys up from Virginia Country Club where I grew up just down the road. Being from southern California, like I said, it feels like a home game.”

Cantlay was joined by three other players – 2021 champion Max Homa, Corey Conners and Hughes – in posting the low round of the day. For Homa, the round was a bounce back after an opening-round 73.

“I love it here,” Homa said. “Even if it wasn’t for the fans, which is an amazing added bonus, just getting to play this golf course is a true treat, and then to get to do it in front of my friends and family and then a lot of people I don’t know who are quite kind, it’s a pleasure for me.”

The shot of the day came from Will Zalatoris. The 2015 Collegiate Showcase champion pulled his 7-iron on the 184-yard 14th hole. Two bounces later and the ball dropped in for a hole-in-one. With the ace, Zalatoris won himself a Genesis GV80 and Genesis Electrified GV70 for his caddie, Joel Stock.

“I think it was 180 (yards) pin back into the wind and we were just trying to hit it kind of right in the middle of that gap between the two bunkers,” Zalatoris said after his round. “I just pulled it about 10 feet and it landed perfectly on the fringe and killed it. Lucky to go in. It was a nice little bonus.”

The ace might have been a week in the making for Zalatoris.

“He holed a shot from the fairway on (No.) 3 in the pro am and he jokingly said the lid’s off now, so I guess it was,” Stock said.

2024 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption recipient Chase Johnson is tied for 43rd at even-par. Johnson becomes the fourth Sifford Exemption to make the cut, joining Joseph Bramlett (2020), Harold Varner III (2014) and Jeremiah Wooding (2013).

Round 3 of The Genesis Invitational will get underway at 7:20 a.m. Saturday morning. For the first time in tournament history, players will play in twosomes off the first tee.