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RIDGELAND, S.C. – Despite a mishap on the final hole, Dustin Johnson continued his march toward his first victory in South Carolina on Friday.
And he’s certainly headed in the right direction leading into next week’s U.S. Open in California.
The world No. 1 made a double-bogey 6 on the 18th hole when his club slipped in his hand during his tee shot, the ball winding up in the middle of a small bush in the waste area to the left of the fairway. He was forced to take a penalty shot but still signed for a 3-under-par 68 to stand two shots behind leader Chesson Hadley through 36 holes of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.
“That’s a first for me. I obviously was not expecting that,” Johnson said of the club slip on the 18th tee using a 3-iron. “Actually my glove hand slipped on the tee shot and just ended up in the only spot you can’t hit it on that hole, which was a couple of bushes there on the left. It got wet. I don’t know if the end of my 3-iron was wet or what it was. When I took a couple of practice swings, I didn’t notice it.
“So, unfortunate finish, but I’m playing well, I’m swinging well, I’ve got a lot of confidence in everything I’m doing.
“Still in a really good spot going into the weekend.”
Johnson stretched his bogey-free start to 30 holes on Friday – the third-best bogey-free start of his career – with some of his finest golf in quite some time. Johnson has but one top-10 on the PGA Tour in eight starts this year but is in prime position to win his 25th PGA Tour title and first in his native state.
“The first 14 holes played extremely difficult and I was playing really well. With the wind, the wind was blowing pretty hard, it was really gusty, so it was just really hard to get a good beat on it. I felt like I did a really good job, though, controlling the golf ball,” he said. “I’m still in a really good position leading into the weekend and still a lot of golf to play.
“So got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing.”