Sam Burns – Photo Getty Images Sean Haffey

Sam Burns might not yet have won on the PGA Tour but the manner in which the 24-year-old from Louisiana has handled the demanding Riviera Country Club over the opening two days of the Genesis Invitational suggests his maiden victory at this level is perhaps close at hand.

Burns has opened-up an amazing five-shot lead over one of the strongest fields of the season to date with eight of the world’s top ten trailing in his wake at present.

To add further merit to his performance to date is that he tied the 36 hole record for this historic event.

Burns added a second round of 66 to his opening 64 and leads over Tyler McCumber, Jason Kokrak, Joaquin Niemann and the pre-tournament favourite and world number one Dustin Johnson.

Burns best finish to date on the PGA Tour was when 3rd at the Sanderson Farms Championship in late 2018 although he has won on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018, en-route to gaining his PGA Tour credentials.

“I’d like to think that I have all the tools to win out here,” said Burns. “Obviously there’s a lot of good players, really, really good players. Yeah, I think try not to get caught up in that and just trying to get better each week and just trying to build as the season goes on.”

Cameron Smith heads the Australians at the halfway mark in 9th place and although seven shots from Burns’ lead, he is just two shots out of second place and tied for 9th.

Smith overcame a shaky start to his closing nine to add three birdies late in his round and finished with a round of 68.

Matt Jones is the next of the Australians in 19th place at 3 under although after a good start to his round he dropped three shots in four holes around the turn and was unable to recover.

Cameron Davis is another shot back at 2 under and ten shots from the lead, while Marc Leishman, defending champion Adam Scott and New Zealander Danny Lee just scrapped into the weekend field.

Dustin Johnson – Getty Images Sean Haffey