SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Austin Johnson has seen his hermit Dustin overpower a golf march with his raw-boned energy some-more than a few times in their 6 years together, including dual years ago during fearsome Oakmont Country Club when Dustin prisoner a U.S. Open with pugilistic antipathy.
On Thursday during Shinnecock Hills, he saw something different, something that should give postponement to a rest of a margin in a 118th U.S. Open. Dustin Johnson wasn’t fearful to behind off on tee shots to make certain he strike fairways. He played some-more percentages. He refused to obey to a conditions and scrambled with a steely defiance. His putting was impeccable.
“I’ve never seen him some-more focused and in control,” Austin, his caddie for a final 6 years, noted.
Control wasn’t in plenty supply to a margin on a wind-blown opening day, though Austin was referring to a stoicism his hermit exhibited amid a severe conditions. Despite attack usually 9 greens in regulation, Dustin Johnson carded one of 4 sub-par rounds during Shinnecock, a oe-under 69 that gave him a share of a lead in a U.S. Open.
Coming off a convincing six-stroke feat final week in a FedEx St. Jude Classic, a feat that easy him to No. 1 in a universe rankings, Johnson is attempting to turn a initial actor to win a U.S. Open a week after a PGA Tour conquest.
He seems staid to do it. It already looks like his championship to lose, given a approach he has played all season, finishing no worse than T-17 in 10 starts while winning twice to run his career feat sum to 18. Add to that his plain U.S. Open resume—last year’s missed cut being an aberration—and Johnson looks like a favorite everybody expected, even if he didn’t play like everybody expected.
“I really consider we played well,” Johnson, 33, agreed, “but we also can play better.”
He really could have scored worse, though a pivotal to a day was a start. While personification partner Tiger Woods deformed a opening hole for a triple bogey, Johnson saved standard from a right fort with an 11-foot putt. He saved pars on Nos. 2 and 3 as well. He incited in two-under 33 notwithstanding attack usually 3 greens in regulation.
“I kept myself from removing down early, that was huge,” he pronounced in that low-key demeanour that belied his compensation in a accomplishment.
He birdied a subsequent dual holes and afterwards got a mangle during a sixth when his expostulate restrained into a high fescue. A insane hunt ensued, though finished with service when former PGA champion Rich Beem, operative for Sky Sports and assisting in a hunt, incidentally stepped on Johnson’s ball. His giveaway dump found a tough lie, though he was means to make a bogey. Two holes later, after a entirely awful wedge, Johnson holed out for birdie from a left-front bunker, a round rattling off a dwindle hang and encircling a hole before dropping.
He didn’t save each mistake, though his pars on a shutting dual holes were hard-earned and valuable. There was a idea that finishing with a share of a lead was as good as a undisguised advantage, from a psychological standpoint.
Johnson wasn’t going there. “Tomorrow is still going to be another formidable day,” he responded. “Every day out here is going to be difficult, and, we know, it’s going to take a same kind of focus, and, I’ll have to fire a same kind of peculiarity golf shots if we wish to fire another good score.”
It wasn’t easy perceptive accurately that shots were quality. The breeze played massacre with everybody and hurt some-more than a few. Fuses blew. Flubs were common. But zero seemed to worry Dustin Johnson. Not really most on his scorecard, and not during all on his psyche.
He exhibited a same ease and infrequent showing that won him a 2016 championship amid a intensity manners infringement that hung over his conduct down a stretch. This notwithstanding a fact he wasn’t utterly on his game.
If he plays usually somewhat better, he’ll be tough to beat. And everybody knows it.