Johnson takes charge in Hawaii
Zach Johnson carded a seven-under-par 66 to open up a commanding three-shot lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
With four players tied for the lead overnight, Johnson’s superb round saw him break from the pack to take his total to 13 under par and open up a valuable three-shot cushion over namesake Dustin Johnson (66), Matt Kuchar (68) and Jordan Spieth (70) heading into the third round.
Webb Simpson and Michael Thompson follow a shot back, with Ryan Moore and Kevin Streelman a further stroke adrift. All four men shot 71s.
After three solid parts to start his round, Johnson started making his gains, picking up four birdies in the space of five holes before reaching the turn and adding three more on the back nine in a bogey-free round.
“The more I get my feet here, the more I walk these grounds, the more comfortable I become,” Johnson told pgatour.com.
Johnson is coming off a victory in his last tournament of 2013 – coming from four behind on Sunday to beat Tiger Woods in the World Challenge. Aside from his 2007 Masters triumph, it might be the most famous of his 11 worldwide victories.
“When you’re talking about a guy that’s done what he’s done and raised the bar, any time you beat him — especially if you’re playing with him and come back from four shots with eight holes to go, it’s going to happen. So I can deal with that,” he added.
With defending champion Dustin behind him, however, as well as a host of other talented players, this tournament is far from won.
“This golf course sets up well for me,” Dustin Johnson said. “I can reach all the par 5s, and there’s a few short holes where you can drive it up close to the green. So if I chip and it and putt it well, I’m going to shoot a good score pretty much every time.”
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