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Expected rain clouds Genesis Open outlook for two-time champ Bubba Watson, others

STAFF WRITER

PACIFIC PALISADES – Given that he’s won two of the past three PGA Tour events at Riviera Country Club, and the one a year ago came after passing a kidney stone, Bubba Watson might seem to be able to just will his way through pretty much anything.

Of course, he can only control so many things. Including whether or not the weather wants to rain on his parade.

“I’m not a history buff, but I’ve never played good in the rain,” the 38-year-old said after Wednesday’s Genesis Open Pro-Am, where his group that included actor Mark Wahlberg posted the low score in sunny, near-perfect conditions.

“It always frustrates me. Just the water dripping and stuff and keeping my mind at ease. But hopefully it rains enough, or it thunders enough, where we can postpone it to the next day … but I’ve never won a golf tournament where it rained all the time so it will be a tough test for me as well.”

The latest weather forecast issued by PGA Tour tournament officials optimistically calls for only a 90 percent chance of rain Friday with winds up to 30 mph and temperatures in the high 50s. The National Weather Service shows a strong low pressure system arriving after Thursday’s opening round with 2-4 inches of rain possible. Flash flood warnings are in effect from 7 a.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Saturday.

As the system pulls away, there are scattered showers predicted for Saturday and drier conditions Sunday, but both days are listed at 60 percent chance of some wetness.

When Watson meets up with Jordan Spieth and former Riviera winner Bill Haas for a 12:12 p.m. start from the first tee Thursday , the morning fog should have burned off, but cloudy skies are expected to remain.

There was only a little rain in the first round last year, with sunny and pleasant conditions the last three days of his 2016 victory. In 2014, while the state was in drought conditions, the sun was out all four days for Watson’s triumph, which came with two rounds of 64 on Saturday and Sunday, overcoming a four-shot deficit to win by two. He went bogey-free over the final 36 holes.

Even if history isn’t Watson’s expertise, there is enough of it on his side.

He’s had six top-20 finishes in his 10 consecutive starts at Riviera, racking up more than $2.8 million in winnings.



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