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Padraig Harrington makes bright start at Genesis Open

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Johnson pulls away to 5-shot lead at Genesis Open

Saunders shot a seven-under par 64 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Thursday.

If Saunders can hold the lead and finish, he would obviously be honoring his late grandfather who won the Genesis Open back-to-back 50 years ago, but it would also be a bit of a comeback story for him.

Sam Saunders leads the field on 7 under tied in second place with US Open champion Dustin Johnson on 5 under.

The American, who is still searching for his maiden PGA Tour win, was flawless, holing seven birdies without a bogey, before darkness set in.

Johnson set himself up for an opportunity with a first-round 66, finishing the day with six birdies and one bogey. The Aussie shot a bogey-free 3-under 68.

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A run of pars along the closing stretch left Johnson on five under alongside J.T Poston and Daniel Summerhays, who didn't drop a shot in his first round.

Last year's Perth International victor Louis Oosthuizen opened with a three-under-par 69 to sit in a tie for 24th but world number 11 Alex Noren could only manage a two-over 74. He has won the event previously, unofficially in a 36-hole, rain-shortened year, and twice finished runner-up.

The three-time major victor would also be entitled to feel a little disappointed after he failed to birdie two of the three par fives.

Just over an hour's action was lost early in the morning due to fog, leaving a number of players unable to complete their opening round before bad light saw play suspended.

One-time joint-leader Pat Perez sits in the large group on four under alongside Billy Hurley III, who bogeyed his final hole, with Byeong Hun An also in the group after opening with a hat-trick of gains.

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