Dustin must fancy chances on course he knows well

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Few players in world golf are as frustrated as Dustin Johnson probably feels right now.

The current world No 2 has won 20 times on the PGA Tour, but just one of these successes has come in a major championship. It’s not as though he fails to play well in these big four events – he actually has a strong record in all of them – the problem is he rarely goes home with the trophy in his hands.

But all that could end at the upcoming US Open, which returns to Pebble Beach after a gap of nine years. Dustin, who will reach his 35th birthday the week following the championship, has a good record at the venue.

For starters, he is a two-time winner of the AT&T National Pro-Am, for which Pebble is the host course. In addition to his brace of victories on the Monterey Peninsula in 2009 and 2010, he has twice been a runner-up here, while also finishing 3rd-4th-5th and 7th.

In fact, he was well placed to win the US Open the last time it was staged there when DJ was just 25 years old. On that occasion, he carded a third round 66 to open up a three-stroke lead with just 18 holes to play.

But he made a terrible start to his final round. After making par at the opening hole, he triple-bogeyed the second, posted a double-bogey at the next, and then dropped another shot at the fourth.

He went from six-under after 55 holes to level par after 58, and at this point trailed the leader, playing partner Graeme McDowell, by three strokes. The Irishman would go onto to win the tournament by one shot from Frenchman Gregory Havret.

That was nine years ago, and a much wiser, but still scarred, Johnson will attempt to clinch his second US Open crown on a course he probably believes owes him another major title.

Since winning his solitary major at Oakmont Country Club, Pennsylvania, in June 2016, Johnson has come mighty close to adding a few more big titles. During the past 12 months alone, he has stood on a major podium three times, twice losing out to Brooks Koepka and once to Tiger Woods.

His recent runner-up finish at Bethpage State Park on Long Island, New York, means he has now finished second in all four majors at some stage during his career – The Open (2011, won by Darren Clarke); US Open (2015, Jordan Spieth); The Masters (2019, Tiger Woods); and the PGA Championship (2019, Brooks Koepka).

And of all the major championships, it is in the US Open where Johnson usually plays his best golf.

Over the past five years, his finishes in this event read: 4th-2nd-Won-MC-3rd, and if you check out the latest golf betting data ahead of the US Open, you’ll find Johnson listed as the second favourite behind ‘Major Machine’ Koepka – followed by Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

So, taking into account his run of near misses in the majors, perhaps the moment has finally arrived for Johnson to make his next career move.

Coupled with his history of playing well at Pebble Beach, there could be no better time for the resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, from doubling his tally of major titles.

 

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