Dustin Johnson opens with a 70, 4 shots out of lead during Wells Fargo

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Six weeks divided from foe didn’t keep Dustin Johnson from fluctuating one strain Thursday, with hopes of adding to another.

Johnson showed some-more diversion than decay during a Wells Fargo Championship, where he missed usually dual greens — and copiousness of putts — for a 2-under 70 that left him 4 shots behind personality Francesco Molinari during stormy Eagle Point Golf Club.

It was Johnson’s 13th uninterrupted turn during standard or better.

Johnson wasn’t as flawless as he looked while winning 3 true tournaments, yet he had few complaints underneath a circumstances. It was his initial time personification given he slipped in his hosiery down a stairs during his let residence in Augusta, spiteful his behind and knocking him out of a Masters.

“Since we hadn’t played in so long, I’m happy with a approach we played,” Johnson said. “I didn’t measure that great, didn’t unequivocally hole that many putts, yet other than that, we played unequivocally well. we consider we strike 16 greens and we strike a turn great.”

No one was certain what to design during Eagle Point, where a Wells Fargo Championship changed this year given a normal venue, Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, is hosting a PGA Championship in August.

On greens that were somewhat softer and as pristine as can be, Molinari ran off 5 birdies in a seven-hole widen on a front 9 and sealed out his turn with a 20-foot birdie putt on a par-5 18th.

That gave him a one-shot lead over Alex Noren of Sweden, J.B. Holmes, Grayson Murray and Brian Campbell.

Murray was a usually actor to strech 7 underneath until he finished with back-to-back bogeys. Campbell, personification with Murray, also was tied for a lead until he found a left fort on a par-5 ninth and unsuccessful to get adult and down.

Holmes birdied his final 3 holes for a 67. He played with Phil Mickelson, who shot 71 in his initial time out given a Masters.

Just over half of a 156-man margin was during standard or better.

Johnson started good adequate to act as yet zero has happened given he final played Mar 26 during a Dell Technologies Match Play, his third true victory, that strengthened his reason during No. 1 in a world.

He was frequency in trouble, done usually one putt longer than 10 feet and still shot 70. It was a reasonable start in resuming his query for a fourth true PGA Tour victory, that would be a longest strain given Tiger Woods won 5 in a quarrel during a finish of a 2007 deteriorate and a start of 2008.

“I played a lot improved than my score,” Johnson said.

He didn’t skip a immature until a breeze knocked down his tee shot on a par-3 second hole (his 11th of a round) and sent it down a slope brief of a green. He chipped wrongly adult a mountain to 12 feet and done his initial bogey. He sealed out his turn by pulling a expostulate on a par-4 ninth hole, punching underneath tree limbs to brief of a immature and again pitching it short. He started walking as shortly as he strike his 10-foot standard putt, meaningful it was off to a right.

“All in all, I’m really gratified with a day,” Johnson said.

There were no issues with a low hash he suffered in his reduce left back, that ranks among a tip weird accidents in golf underneath a circumstances. Johnson was personification a best golf of his life — those 3 victories were opposite a 3 strongest fields of a year — when he hustled downstairs to pierce his automobile in a sleet given his 2-year-old son was on his approach home from day care.

He slipped during a bottom of a stairs, crashing onto his behind and left elbow, and Johnson couldn’t pitch good adequate to contest during a Masters.

Whatever decay he showed in a pro-am Wednesday was gone, during slightest on a behind 9 when he started. He strike a silt crowd to a behind tier on a par-5 12th to 4 feet for birdie. He holed a putt only inside 10 feet for birdie on a par-5 15th, crushed another expostulate down a 16th and strike a crowd to 2 feet.

That put him during 3 underneath by 8 holes, during a time tied for a lead, and he beaten another expostulate on a par-5 18th. With a breeze in his face and H2O on a right, Johnson inaugurated to lay up. His throw crowd was 20 feet right of a pin, and there were other brief manacles that a month ago he would have approaching to get within 10 feet. The few times he did, Johnson missed a putts.

“I knew we wasn’t going to play as good,” Johnson said. “I maybe played a small some-more conservatively. But anything underneath standard was going to be a good score.”

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