Johnson’s Strong Friday of 36 Holes has Him on Top of U.S. Open Leaderboard

OAKMONT, Pa. – Playing 36 holes Friday on a golf course he says he loves, Dustin Johnson sits as the leader among the 50 golfers who have completed two rounds of the 116th U.S. Open at Oakmont County Club.

(Photo – Dustin Johnson lines up a putt on the 18th hole during the first round of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. on Friday, June 17, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll))

Johnson, who sits at 4-under with a two-round total of 136, shot a 3-under 67 Friday morning with three birdies and 15 pars before coming back to shoot a 1-under 60 in the afternoon when he bogeyed No. 1 (his 10th hole of the round) while birdieing a pair of par 3s, No. 13 and No. 6.

“It was a long day today,” Johnson said. but I felt like I played really solid all day for all 36 holes,” Johnson said. “I drove it really well, hit a lot of great iron shots, felt like I rolled the putter really nicely too. So, very pleased with how it went today. Mentally, you’ve got to make sure you stay sharp all day, because you can’t go to sleep on any shot out here.”

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Johnson, the 2015 runner-up, was one of 50 of the remaining 155 golfers to get two rounds completed before play was suspended at 8:42 p.m. because of darkness.

The backlog of golfers to not complete two rounds by Friday night was a direct result of a wet and soggy Thursday that saw just nine golfers complete the first round and half the field not even tee off.

That meant an early-morning start Thursday – 7:30 a.m. – on a course that was still wet, although spectators dealt with poorer conditions with muddy and wet tracks than the golfers had to deal with.

Andrew Landry also sits at 4-under, but through only one round. He shot a first-round 66 with six birdies and two bogeys. Most of Landry’s round occurred Thursday, but he did have to come out Friday and hit one putt to finish the round off. He now won’t play again until 7:11 a.m. Saturday when his second round tees off.

“Being on top of the leaderboard is fine,” Landry said. “It’s just there’s so much golf left, and there are people who can blow it up and say, you’re doing great, yes, I am doing great, but there are 54 more holes left.”

Among others to finish two rounds by Friday night, Scott Piercy and Sergio Garcia are both at 2-under, while Daniel Summerhays and Andy Sullivan are at 1-under

Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, only finished one round and is at 2-over with a 72. He struggled on the front nine with bogeys on No. 2, No. 4 and No. 7 with a birdie at No. 6.He then birdied No. 12 before bogeying No. 14.

“I didn’t shoot myself out of it,” Spieth said. “I know at the end of the day, the USGA is going to try to have even par win the golf tournament. I know I can shoot 2 under in the remaining 54 holes no matter how the course plays. I know I’m capable of it. I’m in it.”

Another notable first-round score came from Lee Westwood, who sits at 3-under par after on round thanks in part to an eagle on the par 4 No. 14. He also had four birdies and three bogeys on the day.

On the flip side, two of the world’s top three golfers – Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have struggled.

Day, the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, is sitting a 5-over par through 15 holes of his second round thanks in large part to a 6-over par first round that saw him double bogey the par 4 seventh hole while also bogeying five other holes during the round. His abbreviated second round has been better with three birdies vs. two bogeys but he still sits in a tie for 56th place with three more holes to play in the second round Saturday morning.

McIlory, the No. 3 ranked golfer, is in even worse shape after a first round 77, 7-over par, put him in a tie for 93rd place.

McIlroy never could find a rhythm bogeying eight holes, including five on the back nine.

“I just need to focus on trying to hit fairways and hit greens,” McIlroy said. “I think I hit five fairways and eight greens out there, which obviously isn’t going to do anything. I’ve been struggling with my swing, even in the practice rounds, a little bit.”

Phil Mickelson is also in danger of missing the cut also sitting 7-over par with a 77 through 34 holes. He was 16 holes into his second round when play was suspended Friday. He shot a 4 over 74 in the first round Friday after shooting 40 on the par 35 front nine.

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