Dustin Johnson got off to a dream start on Friday at TPC Boston, posting birdie, eagle, birdie, eagle, birdie to reach 7 under through five holes. He was 9 under through eight, and following a pair of birdies after the turn he was 11 under through 11 holes.
With seven holes to play, 59 seemed liked a lock. But then the magic seemed to dry up, as Johnson stunningly reeled off seven straight pars with barely a single solid look at birdie, including on the very gettable par-5 final hole.
The 36-year old South Carolinian signed for a 60 to reach 15-under 127. He will take a two-shot lead into the weekend.
“Obviously got off to a great start, even through the five or six holes, just playing really good and made some nice putts and then obviously when I make the turn birdieing 10 and 11, you’re definitely thinking about shooting 59 but I tried not to,” said Johnson, who would move to the No. 1 world ranking with a win in Boston.
“I tried to just keep playing one shot at a time and I knew I was swinging well, so I just tried to keep giving myself looks.
“I had some looks coming down the stretch, but obviously couldn’t get one to go. But still happy with the way I played and obviously I’m in a good position heading into the weekend.”
Scottie Scheffler was two off the pace following a morning round of 59, highlighted by a final-hole birdie.
“You don’t really get a putt for 59 often, so I was quite nervous over the putt, but that’s nothing new,” Scheffler said, a PGA Tour rookie. “I get nervous over every shot. That’s just playing competitive golf.”
The 24 year old Texan’s feat marked the fifth consecutive season, and sixth occurrence, with a score of 59 or better on the PGA Tour. Prior to this stretch, it had occurred just six times in a 40-year span, starting with Al Geiberger in 1977.
Lost amid the historic scoring was the two-round consistency of Cameron Davis, who followed up a opening round 64 with a day-two 65 to reach 13 under and join Scheffler at T2 on 13 under.
“I’ve been working hard on both and it’s nice to see both coming together,” said Davis. “Through the quarantine, there was not much golf at all. Took a little while to get going again. A little bit of work on both is nice to see it kind of coming together to the point where I can play 18 holes of good quality stuff.”
Rounding out the top 5 were Danny Lee (64), Harris English (66), and Louis Oosthuiezen (65). The trio were deadlocked at T4 on 12-under par.
A handful of top-ranked names, and pre-game favorites, missed the cut, including Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Jason Day, and Patrick Cantlay.
Meanwhile, the FedExCup Playoffs ended altogether for several other marquee names, who missed the cut and were assured of not advancing to next week’s BMW Championship (top 70), including Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Shane Lowry, and Brooks Koepka, who withdrew before the tournament began.
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Dustin Johnson -15 (-11)
2. Scottie Scheffler -13 (-12)
2. Cameron Davis -13 (-6)
4. Danny Lee -12 (-7)
4. Louis Oosthuizen -12 (-6)
4. Harris English -12 (-5)