Burns clings to Riviera head as Johnson goes into hiding

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Sam Burns, chasing his first PGA Tour title, held on to a two-time lead over first Dustin Johnson after Sunday’s conclusion of the third round of the Genesis Invitational.

World No.149 Burns made a bogey and four pars on Sunday morning to complete a three par 74 round and stand 204 under nine after 54 holes in a cold and windy Riviera Country Club.

“Just the way we hung out there the last five holes, I was proud of how we kept fighting,” said Burns. “I think that’s something we will have to keep doing the rest of the day.”

Defending Masters champion Johnson made an impressive three saves from five starts on Sunday to shoot 71 and share the second of 206 with compatriot Max Homa and Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick.

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“Everything is going pretty well,” Johnson said. “The game plan is always the same. I have to hit the fairways. It’s going to be tough. 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 nearly four hours, leaving 23 golfers to complete their third round on Sunday.

“Even this morning the golf course was playing hard,” Burns said. “The wind wasn’t very low. You just have to crush it at the end and see what happens next.”

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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-stroke lead reduced to two in the dying minutes of play on Saturday with back-to-back bogeys and a birdie of 16 by Fitzpatrick.

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

Burns dodged a fourth consecutive bogey by completing a stretched 12-foot putt at 15.

At par 4-18, Burns buried his approach in the rough but fell to nine feet and sank the putt to stay in the lead of two entering the final round.

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Johnson opened with a 17-foot putt in the 14th, hit par again at 15, and exploded from a bunker on the green side inches from the cup and tapped to avoid a bogey at the 17th par-5.

“Hit some good readers,” Johnson said. “Hitting a few more nice shots just misjudged the wind. I’m happy with the way I swing it.”

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

js / jc

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