LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jason Kokrak sensed something special was about to happen, and he could point to his name atop the leaderboard Friday in the Northern Trust Open.
For so many others, Friday was something out of the ordinary.
Jordan Spieth, the world’s No. 1 player, made eight birdies and missed the cut by five shots. Charl Schwartzel made a double bogey and a triple bogey — the latter when a shot hit him in the hand — and still shot 68 to remain in contention. Padraig Harrington realized during the round he was wearing someone else’s right shoe. Brendon de Jonge was penalized four shots because he left a wedge in his bag that had been damaged the day before.
Kokrak made birdie on all the par 5s at Riviera on his way to a 7-under 64 to build a one-shot lead over Chez Reavie (67) going into the weekend. Kokrak has never won on the PGA Tour, though power can go a long way on this course under these conditions and he has plenty of it.
“It’s been a struggle to learn how to play this golf course,” said Kokrak, who has not finished in the top 30 in his four previous tries. “It’s old school. It’s very hard. But it’s right there in front of you. If I can hit the driver a little bit straighter and keep it in the fairway, it’s a huge advantage for me.”
He was at 10-under 132.
There was plenty of power around the top of the leaderboard.
Dustin Johnson (66) and Bubba Watson (68) were in the group at 8-under 134. Johnson has been the runner-up at Riviera each of the last two years, while Watson won the Northern Trust Open two years ago with a 64-64 weekend. Rory McIlroy (69) and Adam Scott (68) were four shots behind.