Dustin Johnson came to the 2020 U.S. Open as the hottest player in the world. But Winged Foot got the best of him on Thursday.
Dustin Johnson came into this week’s U.S. Open as the heavy favorite after a dominant run in the FedEx Cup playoffs. After taking just one week off prior to this week’s event at Winged Foot, it was pretty easy to assume that DJ could carry that momentum into the season’s second major.
But Winged Foot can take away momentum in a hurry. Even on a day when 32 players shot par or better, including 21 who were under par, the world’s number one player proved that he is indeed human after all.
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DJ struggled with his game all day on Thursday. He hit only six fairways in his first round and had 32 putts on the day. That’s not a recipe for success on a course like Winged Foot.
The round started out well enough for Johnson. He parred the first three holes on his round, getting off to a decent start. But that all went out the window when he double bogeyed the par-4 fourth hole. Suddenly, he was 2-over par.
After a par on the fifth hole, DJ got one back on the sixth hole with a birdie on the par four. But there was no momentum to be found, as Johnson bogeyed the seventh hole, slipping back to 2-over par. A couple of pars closed out his front nine with a 2-over 37.
DJ made the turn and started the back nine just like he started the front nine, with three straight pars. Then, he suffered a bogey on the 13th hole to fall to 3-over on his round.
After a par on the 14th hole, DJ birdied the par-4 15th hole to get one back. However, just as he did on the front side, DJ followed a birdie with a bogey, which he suffered on the 16th hole. He finished with two pars to shoot a 3-over par 73 on the day.
Johnson finds himself eight shots behind leader Justin Thomas after day one. However, with Winged Foot expected to play much more difficult this weekend, DJ is not out of the championship yet.
It will take a big effort for Johnson to come from behind this week. But if there’s anyone who can do it, DJ is that guy.