sport news – Johnson leads in Memphis, back in top form before U.S. Open
(Reuters) – Dustin Johnson, his sport as scorching on the Memphis climate, made a 110-yard eagle on his option to a one-stroke midway lead on the FedEx St. Jude Basic on Friday.
World quantity two Johnson turned on the afterburners after a pedestrian opening 9, holing out from the green at his 10th gap, the par-four first, the place his ball took a few bounces and disappeared into the cup.
Remarkably, he nearly achieved the extraordinarily uncommon feat of consecutive eagles from the green when his strategy from 113 yards on the subsequent imparted heavy backspin and rolled again straight in the direction of the opening.
Although the ball broke sharply left because it slowed, ending a few inches huge, the tap-in birdie contributed to a second spherical seven-under 63 on a languid day at TPC Southwind in Tennessee.
“I hit numerous nice pictures and had numerous attractiveness at birdies,” Johnson stated after posting a 10-under 130 complete, one stroke forward of fellow Individuals Ryan Blaum (64) and Andrew Putnam (64).
Brooks Koepka, per week earlier than defending his U.S. Open title, carded 69 to slide 5 strokes behind, whereas Phil Mickelson (70) fell six adrift.
Johnson received his first main title on the 2016 U.S. Open and was a runaway world primary heading into final April’s Masters, solely to bruise his again when he fell down stairs on event eve.
He couldn’t begin the event and although he made a fast restoration, has not fairly recaptured his previous kind within the 13 months since returning to motion.
Whereas most of the sport’s elite are having this week off to organize for the U.S. Open, Johnson determined to play his method into the second main championship of the 12 months at Shinnecock Hills.
“Whenever you’re round or within the lead you’ll be able to positively really feel the stress however I prefer it,” Johnson, 33, stated.
“I hadn’t performed an entire lot the final couple of months. I felt it was extra useful to play right here and be sharp going into the U.S. Open than to remain house and perhaps go up there a few days early.”
Mickelson, who must win subsequent week to change into the sixth man to finish the fashionable grand slam, additionally likes taking part in the week earlier than majors, although he was not sharp on Friday.
“I didn’t actually have it in the present day however I used to be capable of shut out the spherical with a few birdies and get it again to even,” he stated.
“My iron play must be just a little bit higher. And once I miss a inexperienced I’ve received to be sharper across the greens.”
Reporting by Andrew Each in Cary, North Carolina; Enhancing by Ian Ransom