World No. 1 Dustin Johnson survives wild day to maintain Tour Championship lead

ATLANTA – Who needs fairways? Well, Dustin Johnson didn’t in Saturday’s second round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf (...)

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson survives wild day to maintain Tour Championship lead

ATLANTA – Who needs fairways?

Well, Dustin Johnson didn’t in Saturday’s second round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Although it’s been said over and over that if one is to be successful on this track, one needs to find the fairways, the world No. 1 kept his lead in the finale of the FedEx Cup Playoffs despite hitting just two of 14 fairways on Saturday and just seven the first two rounds.

Somehow, though, out of the nasty rough that rims the fairways at East Lake, Johnson was able to fashion an even-par 70 in the second round and remain 13 under with the staggered scoring format in use this week. He leads Sungjae Im by one shot heading into Sunday’s third round.

Im, by the way, hit 10 of 14 fairways en route to a 64, the lowest round of the day.

Tour Championship: Leaderboard | Tee times | Best photos

“It was a tough day on the course, but managed to scrape it around pretty good,” Johnson said. “Golf course is two different golf courses if you’re playing from the fairway or playing from the rough.

“Playing from the fairway you can attack the course. You can shoot a good score. Playing from where I did, it’s not so much fun. But I managed my game pretty well, and pleased with the score that I shot, especially the way I drove the ball.”

Johnson did have his moments – he made a 37-footer for birdie on three, a 31-footer for par on the fourth and chipped in from 45 feet on the eighth.

“I feel like I got my two bad rounds out of the way and I got two good ones coming,” Johnson said. “My game feels good. I’ve still got a lot of confidence in everything I’m doing. Just I’ve got to hit it in the fairway. That’s pretty simple.”

Two shots back after a 65 is Xander Schauffele, who won the Tour Championship here in 2017, tied for seventh the following year and finished second last year. Another shot back is Justin Thomas, who said he played “miles better” than his 71 would indicate. Four shots back are Collin Morikawa (65), Tyrrell Hatton (66) and Jon Rahm, who was tied for the lead after the first round and at one point reached 14 under before sliding way back with three bogeys and a double in his last 10 holes as he shot 74.

“It’s one of those days I can’t escape here,” Rahm said. “That’s been my downfall pretty much every time I come. I can’t escape the one day where just nothing goes right, and I can’t really post a score.”

Johnson and Rahm – the top 2 players in the world – were putting some distance between themselves and the field in the early going as Johnson reached 15 under with three birdies in his first eight holes and Rahm moved to 14 under with his birdie on the fifth.

Then both went backward, with Johnson making three bogeys in a seven-hole stretch and Rahm having his problems, and the top of the leaderboard bunched up.

Johnson two-putted the final hole for birdie to gain his advantage.

And Im got back in it by getting back to being Im.

“I honestly wasn’t feeling very confident the last few weeks. I feel like it’s all coming back to me now,” he said. “I’m having a lot of good momentum and I hope to keep it going for the next two days.

“I haven’t been swinging the ball like I’ve been wanting to the last few weeks. Starting last week though, my swing started to feel a lot better and I was hitting the ball similar to how I was hitting it before the quarantine. That allowed me to play with more freedom and consistency.”

That’s Johnson’s goal coming Sunday and Monday. If he does start finding more fairways, he’s going to be hard to chase down.

“I still feel like I’m swinging my irons really well. I’m putting and chipping it pretty good. Got a lot of confidence in that part of my game. I just need to get it in the fairway a little bit more here the next two days,” said Johnson, who spent time on the range immediately after the round. “It wasn’t like I was hitting drives that I’ve never seen before or anything. You know, just the setup was a little bit off. But this golf course, obviously the fairways are narrow. It’s tough to hit them.

“But if you can hit it in the fairway, the golf course is right there for the taking.”

Source : Golf Week More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Charlie Saxon looks to go wire-to-wire at Korn Ferry Tour's Lincoln Land Championship

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A nettlesome wedge shot flustered Charlie Saxon enough for him to vent a little frustration on his club during the (...)

Charlie Saxon looks to go wire-to-wire at Korn Ferry Tour's Lincoln Land Championship

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A nettlesome wedge shot flustered Charlie Saxon enough for him to vent a little frustration on his club during the third round of the Lincoln Land Championship at Panther Creek Country Club on Saturday.

He quickly rebounded on the next hole with his only birdie on the back nine to preserve a one-stroke lead over 2018 tournament champion Anders Albertson and enter Sunday’s final round at 18-under-par.

Austen Truslow and Brett Drewitt remain close behind in third at 16-under while Ben Kohles sits fifth at 14-under.

“It was good after kind of parring it out there for 10 or so holes,” Saxon said of his birdie on the par-5 16th, breaking a streak of 11 straight pars. “It was nice to hit a good iron on the green there. I hit a pretty abysmal eagle putt but it was nice to roll in a 3-footer for birdie. I played a solid two holes coming in and I’m sitting in a good spot.”

Saxon, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, also dropped his putter on No. 15 after missing his golden birdie opportunity that started with a promising long drive within 100 yards of the green. But Saxon said his caddie, Ryan Boshoven, helped allay the frustration.

His patience paid off on No. 16 with a birdie after nailing the middle of the green from 195 yards with a 7-iron on the par-5.

Lincoln Land Championship: Leaderboard

“The putter was an accident,” Saxon said of No. 15. “I had 85 yards from there — pretty easy wedge shot. I was just biding my time all day waiting for an opportunity to really get a good look at birdie. That was a bit of a bummer. It was nice to back it up with a birdie.”

Albertson, who has one top-10 finish this year and ranks 75th in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings, chipped in from 94 yards for eagle on No. 8 and birdied Nos. 13 and 16.

“I was doing some work on the range last night,” Albertson said of his chip shot. “That was a great number for me.”

Albertson previously went 25-under at Panther Creek in 2018 for his only victory on tour. He also finished fifth in 2017, one stroke away from reaching a four-way playoff won by Adam Schenk.

“It’s nice to come back to a place where you’ve had success,” Albertson said.

For the third straight round, Saxon had no bogeys. The University of Oklahoma graduate last won professionally in June 2018 on the PGA Tour Series in China and is ranked 51st in the point standings with two top-10 finishes. This year’s champion receives 500 points in the Korn Ferry standings and $108,000 with four more tournaments left on the schedule.

“I really didn’t hit it as well as I have the last few days,” Saxon said. “The putter saved me at the end of the day. I made a couple real nice 70-footers (for a two-putt) for par on the front nine. They kept my round together.

“It wasn’t the cleanest round even though my scorecard was lacking bogeys, but I’m happy with it. We’re moving forward. Hopefully I play a little bit better tomorrow.”

Source : Golf Week More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.