Journeyman Kokrak leads at Riviera, Spieth exits

Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:23pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Journeyman Jason Kokrak, best known for his power hitting, moved one shot clear after the second round of the Northern Trust Open on Friday as world number one Jordan Spieth missed the cut.

American Kokrak, whose best PGA Tour finish was a tie for second at the 2012 Open, charged to the top of the leaderboard with a sparkling seven-under-par 64 on a sun-splashed day at Riviera Country Club.

The 30-year-old racked up eight birdies, including five in his last nine holes, and a lone bogey to post a 10-under total of 132, ending the day a stroke in front of compatriot Chez Reavie.

However, several big names were in close pursuit, including nine-times PGA Tour winner Dustin Johnson, twice Masters champion Bubba Watson and world number three Rory McIlroy.

Johnson (66) and left-hander Watson (68) were just two shots off the pace with McIlroy a further two strokes back at six under after carding a roller-coaster 69.

"You definitely can call upon past experiences," Kokrak, a double winner on the satellite Tour, told reporters. "I've put myself in that position enough times that I can go out there, stick to my game plan and just hit golf shots.

"I've putted it really well the last four or five rounds out here on tour. That's the biggest key for me. If I putt well, I'm always kind of close to the top-10, top-20."

Watson, who won the 2014 Northern Trust Open and has always relished playing Riviera, made only three birdies on Friday, and would love to see more putts drop over the weekend.   Continued...

February 19, 2016; Pacific Palisades, CA, USA; Dustin Johnson hits from the fourth hole tee during the second round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports