Dustin Johnson fired an opening round eight-under-par 64 in Dublin, Ohio to lead after the first round of the Memorial Tournament. He has a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele and is two shots clear of a group of players in third place that includes Jason Day.
‘It was pretty good,’ Johnson said. ‘I felt like I just played well right out of the gates. I hit great shots, you know, in the right spot on the greens and rolling in some putts. I hit it close on the first three holes and made all three of them, so that’s always a good way to start your day.’
After those three birdies the 31-year-old bogeyed the par four sixth, but rebounded with a birdie rampage, rolling them in at the next three holes to make the turn at five-under-par.
The 2015 US Open runner-up began his second nine with two pars before going on yet another birdie streak. He carded red numbers at the 12th, 13th, and 14th. It didn’t end there.
‘I birdied the 15th to go to nine-under-par. And then on the 16th, tough par-three. I hit a great shot in there right where I wanted to, about 20 feet, just right of it. Hit a good putt there, just barely missed it. And then on the 17th, hit a good tee shot. I don’t think [waiting affected my second shot] it didn’t bother me having to wait. I just made a bad swing.’
The 11-time PGA Tour winner’s bad swing lead to another bogey on the card before tapping in for par at the 18th and a round of 64.
The Jupiter resident will be happy with his opening round, but knows with the likes of Jason Day and an in-form Matt Kuchar only two off the pace, another good round on Friday is needed to keep him at the right end of the leaderboard.
Charl Schwartzel was the leading South African in the field after a first round four-under-par 68 saw him in a tie for 13th. The likes of George Coetzee, Ernie Els, and Thomas Aiken are struggling to make the cut and will need to shoot low if they want to be there on the weekend.