Johnson claims clubhouse lead

Dustin Johnson carded a five-under-par 66 to claim a one stroke lead of the Northern Trust Open before play was halted at the PGA Tour event on Thursday.

The American was one of the first players on course in conditions ideal for low scoring and claimed the early lead in front of a big group of 10 players all on four-under.

Another player – JB Holmes – was also on four-under but he was still on course, along with 14 other players, when darkness stopped play for the day.

In fact, Holmes was one of four players to take the early lead before dropping back into the pack later in his round.

He made his sixth birdie of the day on the 13th, but then bogeyed the 16th to drop down to four-under before play was halted with him on the 17th.

The 10 players who completed rounds of 67 are Robert Garrigus, Francesco Molinari, Scott Stallings, Charley Hoffman, Matt Jones, Brian Harman, Blake Adams, Jimmy Walker, Sang-Moon Bae and Charlie Beljan.

Walker, who won at Pebble Beach last week, birdied his last three holes to join the chasing pack.

Starting on the back nine, Johnson birdied 17, 18 and one before dropping a shot at four – the only blemish on his round. He responded by making another birdie on the eighth to claim the early lead.

“I just got off to a good start and just continued to play really solid all day,” said Johnson after his round.

“I kept it in play, and hit a lot of greens, had a lot of looks at birdie.
“The game’s right where I want it to be.

“Any score under par out here is a pretty solid round. It’s a tough course, but it’s right in front of you, so it’s just a golf course that I really like.”

Garrigus, on the other hand, had a day of rare success on a course he struggled with previously – a tie for 51st his best finish in four previous starts there.

“I just stopped telling myself that I hated this place,” said Garrigus after his round.

“I convinced myself this is my favorite golf course of the year and I tell you what, this is the best shape I’ve ever seen it.”

Other notable players in the clubhouse includes Jim Furyk and Ricky Fowler – both on three-under – while Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood are another stroke further behind after rounds of 69.