Dustin Johnson opens invulnerability with 68 while concentration is on others

World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round One
Gregory Shamus

Dustin Johnson lines adult a putt on a ninth immature during a initial spin of a WGC-Bridgestone Invitational during Firestone Country Club. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

AKRON, Ohio – It isn’t easy drifting underneath a radar when you’re No. 1 in a world, a fortifying champion of this week’s World Golf Championship eventuality and going for an rare third WGC pretension in a calendar year.

But there goes Dustin Johnson, who, naturally, doesn’t mind one bit that a spotlight is on British Open champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, who combined a stir by jettisoning his longtime caddie J.P. Fitzgerald final week.

“What do we think?” Johnson responded with a laugh when asked about a courtesy being spent on dual of his closest rivals.

We’re meditative no, he doesn’t mind.

Johnson afterwards shrugged in that untroubled approach he has. Nobody shrugs improved than Dustin Johnson.

That he valid on Thursday during Firestone Country Club, when he non-stop invulnerability of his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational pretension with a two-under-par 68, 3 off a gait set by Belgium’s Thomas Pieters. Johnson was 4 underneath on a South Course by 12 holes and tied for a lead until a integrate of bogeys forsaken him back, including on his penultimate hole, a par-4 eighth.

Afterward, he over all a claim media requests, and afterwards waited by a lectern as McIlroy was finishing his interview. The Ulsterman beheld Johnson hovering and wondered if he had a question.

The sell was playful.

JOHNSON: How was your spin today?

McILROY: D.J., my spin was good. It could have been a small improved though holed some good putts, had some good up-and-downs. Wedge play was a small off, I’m going to go work on that this afternoon on a range. we competence need to steal your TrackMan. How was your round?

JOHNSON: About a same.

Except McIlroy didn’t have a expostulate of 439 yards, that Johnson unleashed on “The Monster,” a 667-yard par-5 16th hole, that not usually was a longest expostulate of a year, though longest on a PGA Tour given 2013. Johnson, by a way, put a new motorist in play this week, one with 12 degrees of loft (up from 10.5 degrees), that helps him blur it easier.

RELATED: Watch Dustin Johnson strike a 439-yard drive

If there are any slow doubts about Johnson’s health, he answered them.

Golf being maybe a ultimate what-have-you-done newly pursuit, Johnson, notwithstanding his ranking, isn’t a favorite for subsequent week’s PGA Championship. He is third behind Spieth and McIlroy, with 10/1 odds. Then again, Johnson hasn’t looked like a same golfer given he fell and injured his behind on a eve of a Masters and was forced to withdraw. Before that, he had won 3 true starts, including a WGC-Mexico and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play championships.

CBS Sports researcher Peter Kostis pronounced progressing this week he hasn’t seen a same strut in Johnson’s step given before a Masters, though a 33-year-old South Carolina local is buoyed by his T-8 finish during final week’s RBC Canadian Open, where he shot 17-under 271.

“The game’s there, it’s there for sure,” he said. “I’m starting to play golf again. I’m not out there perplexing to find it. we feel like we got it. Last week was unequivocally plain each day. we didn’t hole any putts final week, and didn’t expostulate it that great, though unequivocally strike my manacles well.”

Another pointer that Johnson is feeling better, aside from how good he is distinguished it, is his schedule. He is in a midst of 4 tournaments in a quarrel culminating with a PGA during Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, and afterwards after a week off is a playoffs and Presidents Cup. He’d improved be healthy.

“It’s really a large integrate of months entrance adult here … though I’m ready,” he avered. “I feel good, physique feels good and I’m starting to play well.”

It doesn’t harm entrance behind to a place where he won a year ago. “Yeah, it really gives me confidence,” he said.

And he’ll be prepared. He missed a Masters, had his second son with partner Paulina Gretzky a week of his U.S. Open pretension defense, and still didn’t seem utterly like himself during a British Open during Royal Birkdale. So, a year’s final vital takes on a bit some-more importance. With a spin of play Johnson was displaying in March, a second vital pretension this year seemed inevitable. Now it can deliver a year that – tough to trust when he’s won 3 times and spin No. 1 – has been a slight disappointment.

“Obviously, we feel like I’m personification good going into there [the PGA], so yeah, we wish to contend,” he said. “I haven’t seen a [changes to the] golf course, though from what we remember it, a aged march was only fine, we favourite it. If I’m personification good, we like any golf course.”

He shrugged.

No one shrugs improved than Dustin Johnson.


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