Arnie's grandson, Sam Saunders, leads at Riviera

Arnold Palmer won his final Los Angeles Open back in 1967, beating Gay Brewer by five shots.

Fifty years later, his grandson Sam Saunders shot an opening-round 64 at Riviera Country Club to grab the lead at the Genesis Open.

Saunders began his round at the par-4 10th, and made four birdies on his opening nine, then added three more on the back nine – with no bogeys on his scorecard.

“It was actually relaxing out there. I’m normally pretty stressed, but for some reason today I felt pretty comfortable,” said Saunders after the round. “I knew I was playing well.”

Palmer, who died last September at the age of 87, won the event three times, but never at the historical Riviera Country Club.

“I just want to try and give myself a position to win any tournament on tour. I’m still looking for that first win. If it could come at a place like this that would be incredibly special,” he said.

The 29-year-old has never played well on the West Coast Swing, making just three cuts in his career – but loves the course and the type of golf it demands.

Event Score Position GIR Fairways hit
CareerBuilder E CUT 70.37% 57.14%
Pebble Beach 1 CUT 64.81% 70.73%
**Riviera -7 1 66.67% 85.71%
**Through Round 1

“I like this course because I think it’s a very good test of golf. Length is important but it’s not the most important thing. You really need to drive the ball well, and I pride myself on driving the ball straight,” Saunders said.

Palmer’s three wins came at Rancho Park Golf Course, 10 miles from Riviera.

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