Johnson takes command as big names miss cut

  • us open golf
- REUTERS, Southampton (US)

Jun 17, 2018-

Dustin Johnson moved closer to a second US Open victory in three years, shrugging off the worst of the conditions to take a stranglehold on the US Open with a four-shot second-round lead at Shinnecock Hills on Friday.

The overnight joint leader jumped clear with an assured three-under-par 67 on a day when the tournament lost considerable star wattage as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods missed the cut. “Today was really solid in some tough conditions,” Johnson said after posting a four-under 136 halfway total to head fellow Americans Charley Hoffman (69) and Scott Piercy (71).

A high-powered group of five stood next at one-over—defending champion Brooks Koepka, fellow major winners Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, plus Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter The straight-talking Poulter got within one shot of Johnson before running up a triple-bogey at his 17th hole, the par-four eighth, where he got too aggressive with a bunker shot. He nipped his ball too cleanly, air-mailing the green before compounded his problems by fluffing his next shot from a gnarly lie.

World No 1 Johnson endured no similar drama, largely by adopting a conservative strategy and taking few risks. He capped off the day at his 16th hole, the par-three seventh, where he curled in a 45-foot birdie putt that trundled downhill before trickling in as fellow competitor Woods looked on with admiration and perhaps a tinge of envy.

After strong winds sent scores soaring on Thursday, the breeze abated slightly but still blew strongly enough in the morning to make for a difficult test, with a light mid-morning rain making playing conditions miserable for an hour or so. Sixty-seven players made the cut, which fell at eight-over 148.

Published: 17-06-2018 09:00

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