RIDGELAND, S.C. — Honest warning.
Simply in time for subsequent week’s U.S. Open, Dustin Johnson is getting dialed in.
Shaking off current struggles, the world No. 1 turned in a bogey-free, 6-under-par 65 Thursday to plant himself on the primary web page of the leaderboard after the primary spherical of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.
The scary half is his scorecard didn’t embrace a single birdie on the three par-5s, and he missed two birdie putts inside 8 toes. And his friends ought to take discover: the final time Johnson opened with a 65 or higher on the PGA Tour, he received the Masters. In all, he’s received 5 of 16 time on Tour when opening with a 65 or higher.
“I felt like I have been swinging effectively for some time now, simply have not actually seen the outcomes or seen the scores,” Johnson stated. “I made a number of putts. I simply performed strong golf, lastly put a spherical collectively.”
He’s had a tough time placing something collectively this yr. His lone top-10 on the PGA Tour got here again in February and in his different seven begins, he completed north of forty fifth thrice and missed two cuts, together with in his most up-to-date begin within the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
However in a single seven-hole stretch within the first spherical, he hit each method to inside 11 toes. He discovered 10 of 14 fairways and ended his day by chipping in for birdie from 81 toes.
“It was OK,” he stated about his placing. “The greens are form of tough to learn. I missed a brief one there on the par-3 fifth. However I hit the putt proper the place I wished to, it simply broke laborious proper and I did not see that within the putt. I am pleased with the best way I rolled it. Clearly, 6 underneath was a very good rating, however I nonetheless missed fairly a number of quick makeable putts.
“The placing’s been off or it is similar to small little errors that you simply should not make, so typically it is taken a bit little bit of time away and form of clearing my head and positively it helps. Put in a variety of good work final week and I really feel like I am swinging good, so if I can maintain the putter rolling, it will be a enjoyable week.”
Johnson stood one shot out of the lead set by journeyman Wes Roach, who was 4 underneath after 4 holes and made only one bogey en path to a 64, only one shot off his profession low on the PGA Tour. If is the primary outright lead Roach has ever held after any spherical in his 88 begins on the PGA Tour.
“It feels nice,” Roach stated of the primary lead of his profession. His finest profession end on the PGA Tour is a tie for third within the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Basic. “Exhausting work paying off a bit bit. It is simply 18 holes and there is a lengthy methods to go, however I am simply going to do my finest to remain current on the market and simply proceed to hit high quality pictures.
“I have been hitting the ball fairly effectively for almost all of the yr and my putter has simply, it wasn’t superb, to be sincere. So form of combined issues up a bit bit a number of weeks in the past again house and every little thing’s in a great spot proper now.”
Becoming a member of Johnson at 65 had been Chesson Hadley, Erik van Rooyen and Doc Redman, who tied for forty second in final week’s Memorial after which began this week by withdrawing from the U.S. Open closing qualifier in Columbus, Ohio in his first spherical. Seems it was one of the best factor for him.
“I performed 10 holes after which determined I had sufficient. We had a protracted rain delay and I used to be simply able to get house,” Redman stated. “I spent Tuesday at house after which drove up Wednesday morning, which is what I wanted. Memorial is such a protracted, sizzling, brutal week and I performed rather well the final three days there and so I used to be simply attempting to maintain that going into this week and play effectively.
“It is simply been a variety of laborious work the previous few weeks. I do know I have been taking part in effectively and it is a fairly cool golf course. I used to be in a position to hit some good pictures and make some putts and simply form of subsequent factor I do know it was form of going effectively.”
At 66 was Jhonattan Vegas. In a bunch at 67 had been Patrick Rodgers and Harris English. In a big group at 68 was Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter and Wilco Neinaber, who’s making his PGA Tour debut and is among the longest gamers within the recreation.
World No. 8 Brooks Koepka, taking part in for the primary time since ending in a tie for second within the PGA Championship, birdied the final gap to shoot 72. The final 4 occasions he failed to interrupt par within the first spherical of a PGA Tour occasion, he missed the minimize.