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Dustin Johnson leads after first round at PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson leads after first round at PGA Championship
Dustin Johnson waves to the crowd on the ninth green of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. (Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

Mr. Thursday was at it again, taking the first-round lead of a major.

Dustin Johnson shot a smooth, six-under 66 that had playing partner Jason Day marveling at his length.

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"He's putting himself in positions where 95, 99% of the players this week are not," Day said. "Especially on [the 470-yard No.] 4, he hit way down over the hill with the wind coming in. That's just freakish. To be able to do that and come in with a sand wedge is really a joke."

Johnson does not want to become a punch line after taking flak for missing a potential tying putt from 4 feet on the final green of the U.S. Open.

Johnson opened with a 65 at Chambers Bay and was tied for the first-round lead with Henrik Stenson. He came home in 71-70-70.

Johnson also shot a 65 on Thursday of the British Open and followed it up with a 69 but slumped to 75-75 on the weekend.

Asked why he's playing so well in majors, Johnson replied: "I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine."

Love and marriage

Steve and Nicki Stricker's marriage survived the ultimate test Thursday — major-championship pressure in your home state.

Nicki served as Steve's caddie after a 17-year hiatus, and the result had the locals cheering: Stricker shot a one-under 71 that marked one of the best scores of the afternoon wave.

"We had a great time out there," Stricker said. "She enjoys toting the bag."

Stricker lost longtime caddie Jimmy Johnson to rising star Justin Thomas, so Nicki stepped in.

"She knows me better than anybody," Stricker said. "She knows what to say to me when things are going well or going poorly. If you have a guy, it takes a while to build up that relationship. And she's able to get away with saying some different things a regular guy can't."

Control freak

Tiger Woods is in the state of Wisconsin — and a state of denial. He shot a three-over 75 in the tame morning conditions and said he had "complete control of the golf ball."

He actually hit seven of 14 fairways, and his average proximity to the hole tied for 34th. But there's no debating Woods' second analysis: He putted horribly.

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"I hit it great today, but I made nothing," he said. "That's probably one of the worst putting rounds I've had in a very long time. I had no feel for the speed at all."

As is usually the case in majors these days, Woods will have to grind to make the cut — and do it Friday afternoon, when the winds could pick up.

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