Sun, Sep 03, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Johnson takes one-stroke lead at Dell Technologies

Reuters

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson on Friday set the stage with a four-under-par opening nine to grab the first round lead at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston.

Johnson, who beat Jordan Spieth in the first leg of the PGA Tour’s four lucrative playoff events, fired a five-under-par 66 at TPC Boston that left him one shot clear of US Masters champion Sergio Garcia, American Kyle Stanley, Australian Marc Leishman and Spain’s Jon Rahm.

The tight leaderboard featured six others on three-under 68. Swede Jonas Blixt, Americans Jason Dufner, Kevin Na, Luke List, Brian Harman and Grayson Murray were all within striking distance.

One stroke further back was Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung, who secured a share of 12th place with a two-under 69.

Johnson is finally showing the form he displayed before injuring his back while falling down stairs on the eve of the Masters in April.

“When you win, you’re playing well, so it gives you a lot of confidence,” Johnson told the PGA Tour Web site. “For me, that was one thing that was probably lacking a little bit the last few months — just the confidence, just because I wasn’t seeing the shots that I wanted to see.”

“I wasn’t hitting them consistently. So the confidence was just down a little bit, but you know, after last week, obviously I’ve got a lot of confidence now. I feel like the things I’ve been working on, they are back to working,” he added.

Johnson started on the back nine and used a superb approach from 221 yards to set up a four-foot putt for eagle on the par-five 18th hole to reach the turn at four-under 31.

The long-hitting American, who leads the FedEx Cup standings, mixed a bogey with two birdies over his next four holes before a steady finish.

The Open champion Spieth, who held a five-shot lead in the final round last week, bogeyed three of his opening seven holes, but used birdies at his 13th and 16th holes to get to one-over-par 72.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy was also at 72 after a birdie at the 18th hole. McIlroy’s up-and-down round included three birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey at the par-three 11th.

This week’s field features the top 100 players in the standings.

The top 70 after tomorrow’s final round advance to the penultimate event from Sept. 14 to Sept. 17 at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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