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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – World No. 1 Dustin Johnson’s funk continued Thursday in the first round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.
The reigning FedEx Cup champion hit more than enough good shots to post a low round but instead made a couple mistakes and had a few bad breaks that led to another ho-hum round.
Johnson made six birdies but drove his tee shot into a penalty hazard on the 18th, had one three-putt and caught a gust of wind that led to a double-bogey 5 on the par-3 4th and he signed for a 1-under-par 70 – seven shots behind pace-setting and two-time RBC Heritage champion Stewart Cink.
“I felt like I played pretty well,” Johnson said. “Just like on 4 I hit a good shot. Just got a little gust of wind (and the ball went into the water). On 18, I just chipped a driver. Didn’t think it was going to get anywhere close to (the penalty area), but obviously rolled out a long way. The 3-putt was bad, but I felt like I played pretty well. Drove it good. Hit a lot of the good shots. I need to just clean it up a little bit tomorrow.”
It’s been that way for Johnson for a while now. She he won the Saudi International in February, he has just one top-10 in five starts and three finishes outside the top 25. He also missed the weekend as the defending champion in last week’s Masters when he had six three-putts to miss the cut by two strokes.
He worked hard on his putting ahead of the RBC Heritage, but the results were more of the same.
“Felt like I rolled it really good. Even the couple short ones that I missed I hit them where I wanted to; just misread them a little bit,” he said. “The greens are tricky. They’re hard to read. I was happy with the way I rolled it. Happy with the way I’ve been swinging it. Just need to clean up a little bit more tomorrow.
“Just a couple of mistakes, but just nothing really that I did too wrong.”