PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson leads at Whistling Straits

2015-08-14 06:52
Dustin Johnson (AP)

Kohler - Dustin Johnson shook off any bitter memory of Whistling Straits, seizing the first-round lead at the PGA Championship on Thursday to steal the show from Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

A 28-foot eagle at the par-five 16th and five birdies saw Johnson grab the early lead just as world No 1 and defending champion McIlroy, Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth and British Open winner Zach Johnson were heading to the first tee.

With afternoon winds making scoring tough on the par-72 Whistling Straits course on the shores of Lake Michigan, Johnson's score was still atop the leaderboard at the end of the day.

Sweden's David Lingmerth mounted the strongest afternoon challenge, moving as low as six-under before settling for an impressive five-under par 67.

"Today was pretty easy," Johnson said. "I felt like I was just super-patient, stayed focused all day and I was swinging well. I was controlling it."

Eight players shared third place on four-under par 68: Australians Jason Day and Matt Jones, South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee and Americans JB Holmes, Russell Henley, Matt Kuchar, Scott Piercy and Harris English.

But the names who dominated the build-up to the tournament found it sometimes heavy going.

McIlroy and Spieth both fired one-under par 71, with Zach Johnson settling for a three-over par 75 that left him nine adrift - tied for 86th in a group that also included Tiger Woods.

"I think anything under par this afternoon was a decent score," said McIlroy, who bounced back from an opening bogey with a birdie at the second, and was even through the turn after going bogey-birdie at eight and nine.

Along the way he rolled his trouser leg up to save par from the shallow water of a pond at the par-five fifth.

He got to two-under with birdies at 11 and 16 before dropping a shot at the last.

McIlroy was untroubled by the torn ligament in his left ankle that he suffered on July 4, although he admitted to some nerves teeing it up in his first tournament since the US Open in June.

"Once I got those first couple holes out of the way, I felt like I settled into the round really nicely," he said.

Spieth was steady as a rock, parring his first 10 holes before a bogey at the par-five 11th, where he missed a three-footer for par.

He responded with a chip-in birdie at the 12th, and also birdied the par-five 16th to finish at one-under.

"I hit some really good putts early in the round, had some chances to go under par, even in these conditions that we had," said Spieth.

"I think (it was) one of the better rounds in the afternoon," he said, adding a note of admiration for Lingmerth's effort.

"That's a heck of a round of golf in those conditions," Spieth said.

In the more hospitable morning conditions, Johnson opened his round with back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th before his eagle at 16.

He added birdies on one, two and four, and his lone bogey, a failed up and down at the par-three third, was followed by a birdie at the fourth before he capped his round with a 10-foot par putt at the ninth.

"You know, I hit it close on seven and eight and lipped both of those out," Johnson said. "And on nine, my first putt I hit it a little too hard and fortunately I made a nice comeback for par, to end the day with a good, positive vibe."

Things haven't always gone so smoothly for Johnson at Whistling Straits.

He was leading the 2010 PGA Championship at the final hole when he grounded his club in a scrubby bunker that looked to him like waste ground.

The two stroke penalty and a missed putt at the 72nd hole cost him a place in the playoff won by Germany's Martin Kaymer.

It's just one of Johnson's major near misses - the most recent a three-putt finish to the US Open at Chambers Bay.

For former world number one Woods it was a tough start in his bid to avoid a third straight missed cut at a major.

"Probably one of the worst putting rounds I've had in a very long time," said the 14-time major champion, who has slumped to 278th in the world in the wake of injuries and changes to his swing.

First-round scores on Thursday in the 97th PGA Championship:

66 - Dustin Johnson (USA)

67 - David Lingmerth (SWE)

68 - Russell Henley (USA), Matt Kuchar (USA), Harris English (USA), J.B. Holmes (USA), Jason Day (AUS), Matt Jones (AUS), Danny Lee (NZL), Scott Piercy (USA)

69 - Brendan Steele (USA), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Jamie Morrison (ENG), Justin Rose (ENG)

70 - Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Charles Howell (USA), Robert Streb (USA), Paul Casey (ENG), Martin Kaymer (GER), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Yang Yong-Eun (KOR), Marcel Siem (GER)

71 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Brian Gaffney (USA), Brandt Snedeker (USA), Ernie Els (RSA), Tony Finau (USA), Branden Grace (RSA), Francesco Molinari (ITA), George McNeill (USA), Steve Stricker (USA), Webb Simpson (USA), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Jordan Spieth (USA), Bae Sang-Moon (KOR), Jason Dufner (USA), John Senden (AUS)

72 - Sergio Garcia (ESP), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Bubba Watson (USA), Hunter Mahan (USA), Lee Westwood (ENG), Mikko Ilonen (FIN), Morgan Hoffmann (USA), Marc Warren (SCO), Brendon de Jonge (ZIM), Justin Thomas (USA), Soren Kjeldsen (DEN), Bernd Weisberger (AUT), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Luke Donald (ENG), Phil Mickelson (USA), Billy Horschel (USA)

73 - Chesson Hadley (USA), David Howell (ENG), John Daly (USA), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Bill Haas (USA), Ryan Moore (USA), Vijay Singh (FIJ), Jim Furyk (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA), Tyrrell Hatton (ENG), Kevin Chappell (USA), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Brooks Koepka (USA), Kevin Streelman (USA)

74 - Pat Perez (USA), Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Geoff Ogilvy (AUS), Matt Every (USA), Adam Rainaud (USA), George Coetzee (RSA), Shaun Micheel (USA), Steven Bowditch (AUS), Daniel Berger (USA), Shawn Stefani (USA), Cameron Smith (AUS), Troy Merritt (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Danny Willett (ENG), Jason Bohn (USA)

75 - Boo Weekley (USA), An Byeong-Hun (KOR), Ryan Palmer (USA), James Hahn (USA), Tiger Woods (USA), J.J. Henry (USA), Bob Sowards (USA), Brett Jones (AUS), Sean O'Hair (USA), Jimmy Walker (USA), Ian Poulter (ENG), Camilo Villegas (COL), Patrick Reed (USA), Zach Johnson (USA), Tim Clark (RSA), Kevin Kisner (USA)

76 - Ryan Helminen (USA), David Hearn (CAN), Matt Dobyns (USA), Victor Dubuisson (FRA), Stephen Gallacher (SCO), Ross Fisher (ENG), Keegan Bradley (USA), Carl Pettersson (SWE), Brent Snyder (USA), Brendon Todd (USA), Martin Laird (SCO), Alex Cejka (GER), Charles Frost (USA), Chris Wood (ENG), Ben Martin (USA), Rich Beem (USA), Adam Scott (AUS), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Padraig Harrington (IRL), Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP), Ben Polland (USA)

77 - Grant Sturgeon (USA), Johan Kok (RSA), David Toms (USA), Steven Young (SCO), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Hiroshi Iwata (JPN), Alexander Levy (FRA), Russell Knox (SCO), Omar Uresti (USA)

78 - Colin Montgomerie (SCO), Brian Harman (USA), Darren Clarke (NIR), Shane Lowry (IRL), Nick Watney (USA), Cameron Tringale (USA), Eddie Pepperell (ENG), Andy Sullivan (ENG)

79 - Charley Hoffman (USA), Jamie Donaldson (WAL), Jeff Olson (USA), Fabian Gomez (ARG), Koumei Oda (JPN), Ryan Kennedy (USA), Davis Love (USA), Pablo Larrazabal (ESP), Sean Dougherty (USA), Marc Leishman (AUS)

80 - Joost Luiten (NED)

81 - Richie Ramsay (SCO)

82 - Austin Peters (USA)

83 - Brian Cairns (USA)

84 - Mark Brooks (USA)

87 - Alan Morin (USA)

89 - Dan Venezio (USA)

Read more on:    pga tour  |  pga championship  |  dustin johnson  |  golf


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