Johnson headlines crowded leaderboard at Players Championship

12 May, 2018, 04:32 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Alex Noren share early lead in 1st round of The Players

BC-GLF-Players Championship, 4th Ld-Writethru, 913 Dustin Johnson part of 6-way tie for lead at PlayersAP Photo FLLS101, FLJR109, MH148, MH105, MH123, MH151, MH126, MH119, MH112, MH158Eds: Updates with new top. The lead belonged to just about everyone else.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.

"My expectation is the same for every tournament".

"Every week Justin's pretty close", he said of Thomas.

None was anywhere near the lead at The Players Championship. He shot 1-under 71.

Frustrated over not seeing enough putts go in over the last three months, Johnson tried the "AimPoint" method that some players use to help them read the greens.

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Fellow Americans Chesson Hadley, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay, plus Sweden's Alex Noren, are level with Johnson in the clubhouse. He had an MRI and said he was not sure if he would tee it up until he arrived at the course Thursday and said the wrist was feeling better but not 100 percent. So obviously, this week if I play really well, I'll still be number one. Rory was the only one to shoot under par out of the threesome.

Woods wasn't among them. Woods was the best of the trio with an even par 72, while Fowler finished at two over and Mickelson endured a miserable seven over 79. "I'm very pleased with the way I putted today".

Or maybe they were just bored.

Johnson, who has been world No 1 for 64 weeks, is under siege by those ranked No 2 to No 5 inclusive and he answered the challenge as the 33-year old only knows best. And he putted like he was fed up with not seeing enough go in. He liked the results.

Johnson started his round on the back nine and ran off six birdies in an eight-hole stretch beginning at the par-five 11th. Lahiri, who exited past year with a disastrous 10 on the final Par-4 18th in the second round, got some revenge with a birdie on it.

The golfers on the top of the leaderboard proved that you can score well on this course.

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"I think I've done a better job of ... not figuring it out, you never figure it out, but I've done a better job of being less aggressive when I need to and more aggressive when I need to", Glover told reporters of his approach at TPC Sawgrass. I've just struggled on the greens here. So it definitely works. 'I felt like it was a really solid day, I drove it really well, hit a lot of greens. "The weather looks like it's going to be really nice for the rest of the weekend, so it definitely will get a little bit tougher as the week goes on".

Also at 67 was Keith Mitchell, who only got into the tournament Wednesday when Paul Casey had to withdraw with an injury.

Mickelson was hanging around until chopping up the 14th hole for a double bogey, and then adding a pair of doubles on the 16th and 17th with balls in the water.

"I don't want to say it was a surprise. I want to play well and put myself in a position to have a chance to win on Sunday", said Johnson. Two weeks in a row for me, last week Quail Hollow was flawless for me, as well. Back on putting surfaces he knows, Woods made a number of key putts.

But he couldn't resist his attacking instincts at the 18th and pulled a driver into the lake before getting up and down from 110 yards for a bogey five, making a 12 footer. McIlroy topped his group but was tied for 55th overall. I could have been probably a little worse, as well.

"I don't remember any of that stuff", Johnson said. Defending champion Si Woo Kim, Sergio Garcia and 51-year-old Steve Stricker are among those one stroke back.

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Kim was the only player in the morning wave to reach 7 under, but he settled for a 67 after bogeying two of his final three holes.

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