Dustin Johnson is again challenging for the lead after shooting a four-under par 66 in the opening round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis on Thursday, one shot behind early leaders Tom Hoge and Shawn Stefani of America, and South Korea's Noh Seung-yul.
Ahead of next week’s U.S. Open, Johnson will be hoping he can finally start turning his recent good play into victories as he seeks to take some momentum into the season’s second major at Oakmont in a week’s time.
Johnson has been in contention for several tournaments on the PGA Tour this season but has not won since last season’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami.
The 31-year old enjoyed an erratic first round with an eagle, seven birdies, three bogeys and a double, said he was reasonably happy with his start.
"I felt like I played a lot better than my score," the long-hitting South Carolinian said. "Just kind of gave away a few shots on the back side, which was my front nine, and then obviously finishing with two (bogeys after the turn)… just gave away a couple of shots."
Johnson, who lies in a tie with Wales’ Jamie Donaldson, Argentina’s Miguel Angel Carballo, and Americans Brian Gay, Colt Knost and Steve Stricker, has seven top ten finishes under his belt this season in 12 starts.
Despite not recording a win, he remains optimistic, adding that he felt, “I have been playing really well all year. The game is good, it's really good right now … just got to give myself an opportunity to get it done on Sundays.
"The only thing that has really held me back from winning a bunch of times this year is just making a few more putts."
Phil Mickelson, a five-time major winner who is looking to complete a career Grand Slam at Oakmont, shot an opening 70.
Spaniard looking ahead.
Englishman has high hopes.
Northumberland course recognised again.
Slieve Russell impressing again.
World number four feeling confident.
Home favourite wants to press home advantage.
Merger to create better opportunities.
Spanish ace extends sponsorship.
Mallorcan course impressing.