There’s an old story about how now-deceased Korean leader Kim Jong-Il played a round of golf in 38 under par, firing five aces en route to carding a 34. It was an insane card coming from Kim, but if it had come from Dustin Johnson? Well, you might not dismiss it out of hand.
Johnson, the world No. 1, ambled into Shinnecock Hills off a triumphant walkoff eagle to win in Memphis, and on an opening day when almost the entire rest of the field imploded, he carded a -1 to hold a share of the lead. He followed that up Friday with a rainy masterpiece, a four-birdie, one-bogey 67 to jump out to a three-stroke clubhouse lead at four under par.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game,” Johnson said after the round, but he conceded that “every shot out there was difficult.”
The putt that rocked Shinnecock
Some more so than others. The highlight of Johnson’s round came on the 7th hole, his 16th of the day, when he stood over a putt that measured 45 feet, five inches, and, well …
“This was a long one, definitely a bonus,” Johnson said. “It looked good the whole way. I knew if it could just get to the hole, it would go in.” That putt dropped Johnson to four under par, three shots clear of the field.
What does the weekend hold?
Johnson has shown an ability to play in all conditions, through all kinds of duress; the days of him fading late appear to be in the past. He’ll be in one of the final groups, if not the final one, on Saturday, and no challenger — not the course, not the field — has been able to slow DJ yet.
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