Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Golf

Dustin Johnson tops leaderboard at weather-delayed U.S. Open (w/ video)

OAKMONT, Pa. — One year after Dustin Johnson let the U.S. Open slip away from him, he drove his way to the top of the leaderboard Friday.

Immaculate from tee to green, Johnson endured a day of 36 holes with a game that made him look tough to beat. He didn't make a bogey in his opening round of 3-under 67 at Oakmont, and he dropped only one shot in his second-round 69 that ended just as the siren sounded to stop play because of darkness.

Johnson was 4-under 136, two shots ahead of anyone else who completed the second round in the weather-delayed U.S. Open. He became the second player in an Open at Oakmont to begin with consecutive rounds in the 60s, joining Hale Irwin in 1994.

As much as his long ball, a short memory is one of Johnson's greatest assets. Winless in majors, he has squandered good chances in four of them. None might be more crushing than last year's U.S. Open, when he was a 12-foot eagle putt away from winning but three-putted to finish one behind Jordan Spieth.

Asked if he was motivated by last year, Johnson deadpanned, "What happened last year?"

Andrew Landry had a much shorter day.

The 28-year-old qualifier had to hit only one shot when he returned in the morning, making a 10-foot birdie putt for 66 and the first-round lead. It was the best Round 1 in 10 majors at Oakmont, beating a record shared by Ben Hogan and Tom Watson. Landry also became the first player in 30 years to have the sole lead after his first U.S. Open round.

Three storm delays Thursday before play was called left a disjointed schedule and no clear picture of who's in control. The nine players who completed the first round Thursday had the day off Friday. Those who had to return to finish the round initially were given Round 2 tee times deep into the evening until the USGA decided it best that everyone from that half of the field — including Spieth at 2 over — start Round 2 this morning.

Johnson went 27 holes without a bogey in a U.S. Open held on its toughest course.

The streak ended when he found a deep bunker left of the first fairway, advanced only 40 yards and narrowly missed a 20-foot par putt. He missed plenty of other birdie chances along the way, which isn't alarming because Oakmont's greens are difficult to putt. Far more impressive was his accuracy.

Johnson missed only three fairways in the second round, and he missed only five greens through two rounds. "It was a long day, but I felt like I played really solid all day for all 36 holes," Johnson said. "I drove it really well."

Sergio Garcia, who also knows his share of heartache in majors, stayed with Johnson as best he could. The Spaniard finished his second round with a 50-foot par save for 70. He was 2 under with Scott Piercy, who also went 68-70.

"I'm too old for this," said Garcia, 36.

Meanwhile, the "Big Three" might be in big trouble.

Spieth wrapped up his water-logged first round in the morning, carding 2-over 72 that included five bogeys and a handful of exasperated looks after watching putt after putt burn the edge. After one approach shot, he held out his hands, turned and, sighing, said "Oh my God" while flipping his club in frustration.

Rory McIlroy matched his worst score in a U.S. Open with a first-round 77. Top-ranked Jason Day opened with 76 and was 5 over with three holes left in his second round.

Phil Mickelson, who turned 46 Thursday, was in danger of missing the cut for the second straight time at Oakmont. After shooting 1-under 34 on his opening nine holes, Mickelson played the next 25 in 8 over. He was 7 over with two holes left in his second round.

The Golf Channel contributed to this report.

Comments

Dustin Johnson, Ted Potter Jr. tied for lead at Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Dustin Johnson overcame a sloppy back nine in the stiffening breeze by making a 10-foot birdie on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach for 2-under 70 that gave him a share of the lead going into the final round of the Pebble Beach Nat...
Published: 02/10/18
Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship? Maybe

Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship? Maybe

PALM HARBOR — Every year at this time, Valspar Championship officials release a list of players committed to the tournament, those likely to commit and those who have not definitively said no. For the first time since it became a PGA Tour event in 20...
Published: 02/08/18
Gary Woodland rallies to win Phoenix Open in playoff

Gary Woodland rallies to win Phoenix Open in playoff

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Gary Woodland was surprised to see infant son Jaxson with wife Gabby late Sunday afternoon at the Phoenix Open. "My wife kind of surprised me with him," Woodland said. "I didn’t think he was going to be there. I thought it would j...
Updated one month ago
Record crowd watches Rickie Fowler take Phoenix Open lead

Record crowd watches Rickie Fowler take Phoenix Open lead

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler birdied the last three holes in front of the largest crowd in golf history Saturday to take the lead in the Phoenix Open. Fowler shot 4-under 67 to reach 14 under with a round left at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course,...
Updated one month ago
Fowler back in contention in Scottsdale

Fowler back in contention in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler took a share of the lead into the weekend in the Phoenix Open. He knows from experience the party is just getting started. "Just keep the gas pedal down," Fowler said. Fowler has had a lot of success at TPC Scottsdal...
Updated one month ago

Bill Haas takes first-round lead at PGA’s Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bill Haas’ 9-iron landed to the right of the pin and spun left, settling 3 feet away for birdie on the par-3 16th in the Phoenix Open. "I just tried to play the hole like I would any other hole, even though it’s not like any other...
Updated one month ago
Jason Day wins playoff at Farmers Insurance Open

Jason Day wins playoff at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — Jason Day calmly sank an 18-inch birdie putt at 8:17 a.m. Monday in front of empty grandstands on No. 18 at Torrey Pines for his first PGA Tour win in 20 months. There were no roars, just cheers from Day’s family and a handful of mates. I...
Updated one month ago

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome defends title at Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Brittany Lincicome beat darkness — with help from floodlights Sunday on the Ocean Club’s 18th green — to win the Bahamas LPGA Classic for the second straight year. The Seminole resident birdied the final two holes and four ...
Updated one month ago

Nine-time European champion Alex Noren takes lead at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — A nine-time winner on the European Tour, Alex Noren of Sweden gave himself a chance to make his mark in America with 3-under 69 Saturday for a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Noren finished strong, ...
Updated one month ago
Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Tiger Woods barely makes cut

Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Tiger Woods barely makes cut

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Palmer is the 36-hole leader in the Farmers Insurance Open. Jon Rahm is right behind, poised to reach No. 1 in the world. And for the first time in 29 months, a PGA Tour event will feature Tiger Woods on the weekend. Palmer finished ...
Updated one month ago