Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, CA — February 18, 2020
Flint’s Willie Mack III is in the mix after the 1st round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. The Grand Blanc HS alum is competing in just his 2nd PGA TOUR event having received the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption to join the field for the Genesis Invitational.
In January, Mack was a last-minute sponsor exemption to the Farmers Insurance Open where he failed to make the cut. With more time to prepare he is taking full advantage of the opportunity at Riviera Country Club.
Solid Opening Round
Mack started his day with a birdie on the 509-yard, Par-5, 1st hole. On the 2nd hole, he carded a bogie which started a series of back-to-back score swings. A bogey on the 239-yard long Par-3, 4th hole was followed by a birdie on number five. Mack ended the front nine with a bogey on number eight, followed by a birdie on the 9th. Even Par-35 on the turn.
After a par on the 10th, Mack went birdie-bogey-birdie on 11, 12, and 13 for a score of 1-under on the round. He stayed in red numbers with pars on the final five holes.
Well Within the Cut Line
Willie Mack’s score of -1 placed him in a tie with 14 other golfers for 34th after the tournament’s opening round. Among those 14 players are notables Jon Rahm, Kevin Na, and Rickie Fowler.
According to the PGA, “only three Charlie Sifford Memorial exemption recipients have made the 36-hole cut – Joseph Bramlett (2020, T51), Varner in 2014 (T70), and Jeremiah Wooding holds the high-water mark finish with his T42 in 2013.” Mack is in a good position to be the 4th if he can repeat his performance during the 2nd round.
“It was pretty good. I hit the ball pretty good. I left a couple out there, but it’s a good start to the week,” Mack said nonchalantly after his five birdie, four bogey effort.
“You have really got to keep the ball below the holes out here. I kind of managed to do that and got in with an under-par score. Getting experience at Torrey helped out a lot. I played good at Torrey; I just was in the rough probably 90 percent of the time.”
On Friday Mack tees off on the 10th hole at 3:49 pm(eastern) in a threesome with John Augenstein, Angus Flanagan. Television coverage on the Golf Channel is from 2 to 6 pm(eastern).