Now that he’s finally won again, Dustin Johnson is starting to look as dangerous as ever.
One week after Johnson ended a five-month dry spell brought on by a back injury, he easily handled the early cold and a steady win at TPC Boston for a five-under-par 66 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Dell Technologies Championship in Norton, Mass.
And the world’s No. 1 player made it look easy on a tough day for scoring.
He started with a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 10. He made the turn with a six-iron from 220 yards that sailed high and rode the left-to-right wind to within four feet to set up eagle. When another big tee shot settled into a divot on the reachable par-5 second hole, he laid up short of the water and still made birdie.
“Put together a pretty good score,” Johnson said.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia opened with five birdies on the front nine, and then saved his day with a par on his final hole. He hooked his tee shot into the trees, got a bounce into the rough, laid up and then hit wedge to 12 feet and made the putt.
Marc Leishman and Kyle Stanley were one shot back among the early starters who had to face the surprising chill of morning, a cruel reminder that the end of a New England summer is not far away.
Jon Rahm birdied four of his last five holes and was in the group at 68. Phil Mickelson, in his last tournament before the picks are made for the Presidents Cup, felt more energy after seeing a doctor and kept his focus on enough good shots for a 69.
“It was nice to have a solid round,” Mickelson said, who had not broken par in the opening round since The Greenbrier in early July. “I played well tee-to-green, and it made for a stress-free day on a very difficult day.”
Johnson played in the group featuring the top three in the FedEx Cup. PGA champion Justin Thomas made 16 pars in his round of 71. British Open champion Jordan Spieth, who lost to Johnson in a sudden-death playoff last week on Long Island, didn’t make a birdie until his 13th hole and shot 72.
“Each part of my game was a little off,” Spieth said.
Three tied for LPGA lead
Stacy Lewis shot an 8-under 64 on Friday for a share of the Cambia Portland Classic lead — and a chance to make a big donation to hurricane relief in her hometown.
From The Woodlands in the Houston area, Lewis is giving her earnings this week to the relief efforts. The 11-time LPGA Tour champion also is trying to win for the first time since 2014.
Two-time defending champion Brooke Henderson and first-round leader In Gee Chun matched Lewis at 10-under 134 at tree-lined Columbia Edgewater. Henderson played a five-hole stretch in five under in a 67, and Chun had a 68.
Ai Miyazato was two strokes back after a 67 in her final start in the United States. The Japanese star plans to retire after The Evian Championship in two weeks in France.
Sutherland leads Champions event
Kevin Sutherland shot an eight-under 62 to take one-stroke lead over California childhood rival Scott McCarron in the PGA Tour Champions’ Shaw Charity Classic.
Sutherland played his final nine — the front nine at Canyon Meadows in Calgary — in six-under 29.
Winless on the 50-and-over tour, Sutherland finished second behind McCarron two weeks ago in New York in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, the event where Sutherland shot a tour-record 59 three years ago.
McCarron closed with an eagle. He has three victories this year and five in the last two seasons on the PGA Tour Champions. The three-time PGA Tour winner won the Allianz Championship in February and the major Senior Players Championship in July.
Sutherland’s lone PGA Tour victory came in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat fellow Sacramento player McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Todd Hamilton, Billy Andrade and Scott Dunlap shot 64. Vijay Singh topped the group at 65, and 2014 winner Fred Couples was at 67 along with Nick Faldo. Defending champion Carlos Franco had a 69.