Pro Golf Weekly

Dustin Johnson Leads U.S. Open at Halftime

Dustin Johnson fired a 3-under 67 on Friday to take a four-shot lead into the weekend at the 118th U.S. Open.

Credit: Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann

Starting on Shinnecock Hill’s back side, Johnson got into the red early with a birdie on the par-3 11th hole, and added another gain on the par-5 16th to turn in 33. A bogey on the par-4 first hole (his 10th) was offset by a birdie on No. 4, while a fourth and final gain on No. 7 put D.J. into the red going home, good for a 67 and a two-day score of 4-under par 136.

“I felt like today was another really solid round, played really well. A couple times where I hit a couple of bad iron shots, but every time I felt like I was able to save par, at least give myself a really good look at par,” said Johnson, who hit 12 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens.

“My only bogey I made today on No. 1, I still had a decent look at par, 10-, 12-footer or something for par.

“I felt like today was really solid in some tough conditions.”

It appeared Charley Hoffman had booked a tee time in Saturday’s final pairing, but a dropped shot on the final hole saw the 41-year old Californian sign for a 69 to sit alongside first-round co-leader Scott Piercy (71) at even-par 140.

Piercy, by virtue of an earlier tee time on Friday, gets the final spot alongside D.J. for round three.

“I’m right there. Couple good days, and, you know, as long as D.J. doesn’t run away with something, run away and hide. But I’m excited,” said Piercy, who also played in the final pairing with Johnson in the third round of the 2016 U.S. Open.

Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood posted matching low-round 66s to sit T4 alongside Henrik Stenson (70), Justin Rose (70), and Ian Poulter (72).

Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little

With two holes to go, Poulter had moved to within a shot of the lead at 3-under par following a birdie on the par-3 7th hole (his 16th), but the Englishman finished triple bogey-bogey to drop four shots over his final two holes.

“We kind of mess up just as good as, you know, everyone else. We’re human, right? We make a mistake,” said Poulter, who was on a 15-hole bogey-free streak prior to the two-hole disaster.

“I think the best outcome for me is to put it out of my mind, to look upon, you know, the position I’m in for this weekend.

“I’m T-4. I feel pretty confident about my game, where my game is. I just need to make sure I don’t make any silly little mistakes.”

Rickie Fowler (69) was in the T4 group until a bogey on the 18th hole dropped him back to T9 with overnight co-leader Russell Henley at 2-over par.

One further back at 3-over 143 was Marc Leishman, who posted a 69 to lead a group of three at T11, one clear of world No. 2 Justin Thomas, who carded a 70 to sit T14 alongside a logjam of players, including Alex Noren (72), Rafael Cabrera Bello (71), and Jason Dufner (74).

Fan favorite Phil Mickelson followed up a disappointing opening-round 77 with a second-day 69 to move 53 positions up the leaderboard to T36 at 6-over par.

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Reddington

Playing alongside Mickelson was Jordan Spieth, who made a late charge with four-straight birdies on Nos. 13-16 to move inside the cut line at 7-over par, but two-consecutive bogeys to close saw the 24-year old superstar miss his first cut in a major since 2014 (PGA Championship).

Other big names going home early included Tiger Woods (78-72) and Rory McIlroy who finished T85 at 10-over par 150. Jason Day (+11), Sergio Garcia (+14) and Jon Rahm (+15) were other top-ranked players missing the cut. In all, six of the top-20 ranked players in the world missed the cut.


TOP 10

1. Dustin Johnson -4 (69-67)
2. Scott Piercy E (69-71)
2. Charley Hoffman E (71-69)
4. Tommy Fleetwood +1 (75-66)
4. Henrik Stenson +1 (71-70)
4. Justin Rose +1 (71-70)
4. Brooks Koepka +1 (75-66)
4. Ian Poulter +1 (69-72)
9. Russell Henley +2 (69-73)
9. Rickie Fowler +2 (73-69)
9. Mickey DeMorat +2 (72-70)

NOTABLES

12. Marc Leishman +3 (74-69)
12. Matthew Fitzpatrick +3 (73-70)
15. Rafael Cabrera Bello +4 (73-71)
15. Alex Noren +4 (72-72)
15. Jim Furyk +4 (73-71)
15. Justin Thomas +4 (74-70)
15. Jason Dufner +4 (70-74)
24. Jimmy Walker +5 (75-70)
24. Branden Grace +5 (76-69)
24. Patrick Reed +5 (73-72)
24. Tyrrell Hatton +5 (75-70)
24. Hideki Matsuyama +5 (75-70)
24. Bryson DeChambeau +5 (76-69)
36. Xander Schauffele +6 (72-74)
36. Patrick Cantlay +6 (75-71)
36. Louis Oosthuizen +6 (74-72)
36. Paul Casey +6 (73-73)
36. Zach Johnson +6 (73-73)
36. Phil Mickelson +6 (77-69)
36. Andrew “Beef” Johnston +6 (73-73)
46. Tony Finau +7 (75-72)
46. Webb Simpson +7 (76-71)
46. Francesco Molinari +7 (75-72)
46. Li Haotong +7 (79-68)
58. Steve Stricker +8 (73-75)
58. Kiradech Aphibarnrat +8 (76-72)
58. Brandt Snedeker +8 (72-76)

NOTABLES MISSING CUT

71. Graeme McDowell +9 (79-70)
71. Si Woo Kim +9 (73-76)
71. Jordan Spieth +9 (78-71)
85. Tiger Woods +10 (78-72)
85. Rory McIlroy +10 (80-70)
92. Bubba Watson +11 (77-74)
99. Kevin Kisner +12 (77-75)
99. Jason Day +12 (79-73)
99. Charl Schwartzel +12 (79-73)
99. Matt Kuchar +12 (74-78)
99. Adam Scott +13 (78-75)
112. Sergio Garcia +14 (75-79)
122. Jon Rahm +15 (78-77)
131. Ernie Els +17 (78-79)
137. Martin Kaymer +18 (83-75)


STAT LEADERS

Credit: Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann

DRIVING
1. Harry Ellis (a) – 325.80 (T149)
2. Kristoffer Reitan (a) – 322.60 (T128)
3. Ryan Fox – 322.40 (T25)
43. Dustin Johnson – 306.60 (1)

FAIRWAYS
1. Phil Mickelson – 26/28 93% (T36)
2. Brian Harman – 25/28 89% (T15)
2. Ross Fisher – 25/28 89% (T44)
41. Dustin Johnson – 22/28 79% (1)

GREENS
1. Tommy Fleetwood – 28/36 78% (T4)
1. Will Zalatoris – 28/36 78% (T92)
3. Justin Rose – 26/36 72% (T4)
3. Marc Leishman – 26/36 72% (T13)
3. Tyler Duncan – 26/36 72% (T15)
3. Haotong Li – 26/36 72% (T45)
46. Dustin Johnson – 21/36 58% (1)

PUTTS
1. Alex Noren – 1.44 (T15)
2. Dustin Johnson – 1.47 (1)
3. Luis Gagne (a) – 1.51 (T36)


VIDEO: SHOT OF THE DAY

Dustin Johnson’s 45-foot long-bomber for birdie, which according to FOX analyst Paul Azinger took 11 seconds from stroke to drop.


QUOTABLE

“I like being in the lead for sure. It’s less shots you’ve got to make up. But, yeah, I mean, right now I’m in a good position going into the weekend. Don’t know if I’ll have the lead or not. There’s still a lot of guys out there that are playing. But I’ll be in a good position going into the weekend for sure.”
– Dustin Johnson

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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