Johnson got off to a sizzling start at the Dell Technologies Championship by burying a almost 40-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th hole, and proceeded, under sunny skies and in a gusty breeze on a crisp fall-like morning, to blow away his first- and second-round playing partners, Jordan Spieth (72) and Justin Thomas (71).
Asked about his prospects of converting his lead into a second PGA Tour title, the 22-year-old added: “It’s all going to start with the weather – if we have a day like today we’re going to have to play good golf to keep that lead”.
Paul Casey, who played in the final group previous year until McIlroy ran him down, had a 65 and was two shots off the lead along with Adam Hadwin (65), Kevin Streelman (65) and Kyle Stanley (68).
Brian Harman opened with a 68 and wasn’t the least bit bothered that Johnson was already two shots ahead of him.
“I could have easily made pars on all those holes”. Rahm went -7 in those eleven holes, bringing his tournament score to -9 and sending him into the clubhouse as the Dell Technologies Championship’s leader.
Jon Rahm led as of late Saturday afternoon at Dell Technologies Championship 2017 in Norton, Mass. They are among 10 players with multiple FedExCup playoff victories. Felt like I didn’t miss a shot.
“Of the courses that we have coming up I definitely feel the most comfortable on this one so if I didn’t get myself into the mix it would definitely be a lost opportunity”.
“If there was an area in front of the frontal lobe”, he said, “I would say that. We misjudged the wind a couple times or we got a couple gusts and ended up missing greens”.
The tight leaderboard also consists of four players at six under, led by Phil Mickelson, who shot a four-under 67.
Johnson birdied the 10th hole to begin his opening round and converted a putt from five feet for eagle at No. 18 to make the turn at 4-under.
Dustin Johnson (+762 Pinnacle) It was a fantastic duel on the back nine last week at Glen Oaks Club that saw DJ eventually take out Jordan Spieth in a playoff, and confirm for us that the back injury from way back in April is long gone. He also ranks inside the top 30 in Par 4 and 5 birdie %.
On the back nine he had just one bogey on 16 but sandwiched it between birdies at 15 and 17.
“I feel like I have some unfinished business around this place after past year, but it’s a cracking leaderboard”, said Casey, who needed only 25 putts for his round.
“For me it was just a matter of just stop being cranky”.
Rickie Fowler, Pat Perez and Justin Rose are five back at seven-under 206.
“Always nice to respond with a few birdies. That’s the thing – once you know you can make birdies on a golf course, it makes it easier to do that again”.
Former world number one Rory McIlroy’s disappointing season continued as he shot 74 for four-over and missed the cut in a tournament where he was defending champion.