Dustin Johnson was in an enviable position on Friday morning, not only tied for first at the RBC Canadian Open after his six-under 66 the day before, but also because he had the favourable side of the draw, at least in theory, with an 8:10 a.m. tee time.
None of it mattered as it turned out.
“It’s real windy. The breeze is almost like it’s a little bit heavier (on Friday), so it’s affecting the ball a little bit more than it was (Thursday),” he said afterwards.
“The greens? Yeah, they are firm. You’ve really got to be careful where you hit it. Some of the downwind holes, you get it too close to the green where you can’t stop,” he said.
“I had trouble on eight where I was too close and ended up making bogey there and three-putted. The conditions are very difficult. It’s really hard to judge the wind,” said Johnson, who quickly fell from the first place perch he was on.
Starting on the back nine, Johnson went bogey, double bogey, bogey from his second hole to his fourth.
“I really don’t know what happened the first four holes, just got off to a bad start, hit it in a couple of awkward spots, I made some bad bogeys, but fought back and turned it around and felt like I played really nicely from 14 on in,” said Johnson.
Indeed he did as Johnson had two birdies before making the turn at two over on the day, then striking for four more birdies on the next six holes before adding a bogey on his next-to-last hole.
The one-under 71 that he posted left Johnson tied with Luke List, who also shared the first round lead with him going into the weekend. Both are at seven under, with Canadian amateur Jared du Toit John Rahm and Kelly Kraft one shot back.
“If I can just forget about what everybody else is doing and stay in my mindset,” said List.
“I’ve had a really good frame of mind the last couple of days, just my attitude right now. If I can keep that up, I’ll be happy with the way I finish,” added List, whose day worked just the opposite of Johnson’s.
His first two holes resulted in birdies as he made the turn at two under, but bogeyed three of the next five holes, before two more birdies on 16 and 18.
“I think the valley is playing tough for everybody. I wasn’t too displeased with that. I had a good front nine and I was really happy with that. I’ll try to make a few pars in the valley tomorrow and go from there,” said List.
“I’m excited. Two more days of this golf course. It’s a challenge out there. Those valley holes, 11 through 13-14, really play tough. I’m looking forward to taking aim at those (Saturday),” he said.
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