Johnson makes short work of long day
American power hitter seizes clubhouse lead after 36 holes
Dustin Johnson powered through two punishing rounds at Oakmont yesterday morning (Singapore time) to seize a share of the lead at the weather-disrupted US Open.
World No. 6 Johnson carded the first bogey-free round of the tournament with a first-round three-under 67 that put him one shot behind unlikely first-round leader Andrew Landry.
He grabbed a share of the lead on four under with a second-round 69, as half the field tackled 36 holes on the demanding Oakmont course thanks to weather delays that knocked the tournament off schedule on Thursday.
"I'm in pretty good shape, so the physical part's no problem," Johnson said of the long day.
"But, definitely mentally, you've got to make sure you stay sharp all day, because you can't go to sleep on any shot out here."
His 136 total had him atop the leaderboard on four under with Landry, who hit just one shot on Friday but made it count.
Landry was standing over a 10-foot birdie putt at his final hole, the ninth, when play was halted for the day on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Texan, ranked 624th in the world, calmly knocked it in then took the rest of Friday off, and waited for his second.
But for Oakmont's fiendish greens, firming up despite the torrential rains on Thursday, Johnson could well have supplanted Landry.
He missed a string of birdie attempts from the 10-foot range, but said he couldn't be unhappy with two birdies and a bogey in the second round.
"They're so hard to putt," Johnson said. "No matter how close you are to the hole, they're tough to putt.
"I hit so many good putts today that I thought were going in, and burned the edge or lipped out. That's just how it goes. I mean, these greens are tough."
Certainly, he said, he wasn't haunted by memories of last year's US Open, where he three-putted the 72nd hole to finish tied for second behind Jordan Spieth.
The leaders were chased by England's Lee Westwood, who was three under after one round.
Scott Piercy and Spain's Sergio Garcia were in the clubhouse on 138, both carding even-par second rounds, while Ireland's Shane Lowry was two under through his first 18.
American Daniel Summerhays notched a remarkable seven birdies in a 65 that put him in the clubhouse on 139, leading a group of seven on one under.
World No. 1 Jason Day and third-ranked Rory McIlroy, both touted as title contenders, will instead be keeping an eye on the cut line.
McIlroy, the 2011 US Open champion, bogeyed the last three holes of his first round for a 77 that left him 11 shots off the pace.
Day didn't start the first round until Friday but, once he did, his misery lasted twice as long as McIlroy's.
The Australian's first-round 76 included a double-bogey at the par-four seventh, where he was in two bunkers and needed two attempts to get out of one of them.
Spieth, aiming to become the first to successfully defend the US Open title since Curtis Strange in 1989, was two over after one round. - AFP.