Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round Friday at Riviera Country Club, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69 for a share of the lead at the Genesis Open.
He is tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump. They were at 7-under 135.
Sam Saunders is one shot behind after he made bogey on his final hole of the second round, which was finished Saturday morning due to darkness the day before. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole Friday for a 68 and was also one shot back at 136.
Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.
Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth -- the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green -- landed above the flag and to the right and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.
"I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there, so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close," Cantlay said.
He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.
McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.
"All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence," McDowell said.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.