Matt Kuchar said he couldn't remember being 20 holes from missing the cut. But the winner of the Genesis Open four years ago made the turn on Friday in a foggy 38, shot a three-under-par 69 and was at seven-under 137 through 36 holes.
Kuchar, who won the Travelers Championship last September, also had missed the cut in four of the last six events he played.
"I got off to a great start here and, in the second round, got nothing going at all," he said. "It seemed like everything just kind of went the other way with me. You can't do much of anything that's negative on the golf course because you're not going to make birdies."
Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau also had six-under 137s heading into the weekend. Justin Thomas had the low round of the day, a 66.
Fowler is playing for the first time since winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in late January, overcoming the withdrawal of world No. 1 Dustin Johnson on Wednesday because of illness. He won the tournament with five holes left.
"You don't realize how much faster it is when you're playing here," Fowler said. "It's super dry, so you can handle the heat a little bit better. But it's long, long, long."
He was seven under after 16 holes and didn't lose his focus.
"I kind of took control of it with a couple of birdies at 17 and 18 and finished the day pretty strong," he said.
Marcelino Mateo / Associated Press Rickie Fowler, left, of the United States, looks to putt on the 14th green during the second round of the Genesis Open on Friday at Riviera Country Club. Rickie Fowler, left, of the United States, looks to putt on the 14th green during the second round of the Genesis Open on Friday at Riviera Country Club. (Marcelino Mateo / Associated Press)
Henrik Stenson was six under at the start of the day but said he missed a couple of good putts on the back nine that brought his score to 69.
"Unfortunately, I gave them right back a couple of times," he said.
Fowler received good news when Johnson, his playing partner for the week, decided to make an early exit because of illness.
"It's obviously big news because obviously he's a good player, and someone you want to play with," Fowler said. "It's kind of frustrating, but, for me, it's golf. I have to just keep grinding away and hopefully it goes my way one day."