Dustin Johnson gets revenge on hole that ruined US Open bid
DUSTIN Johnson took revenge on the hole that cost him so badly two years ago with an eagle at the third, as he carded a nine-under 63 to grab a share of the first-round lead in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Johnson shared the lead with Charlie Wi, who flirted with a round of 59 before finishing with a nine-under 61 at Monterey Peninsula in the three-course event, and former US Amateur champion Danny Lee, who matched Johnson’s 63 at Pebble Beach.
Tiger Woods was five shots off the lead after a four-under 68 at Spyglass Hill, the fourth-best score on that course.
In 2010 Johnson held a three-shot lead in the US Open on the same course until he carded an 82 in the final round. On the third hole of that fateful round, he drove into the bushes for a lost ball and a double bogey.
On Thursday, he smashed a driver nearly 340 yards over the trees to just short of the green, then pitched in from 41 yards for an eagle. Walking off the tee, he said to caddie Bobby Brown, “I could have used that in the US Open.”
Wi had a strong chance of carding a 59 without ever knowing it. He was eight under after a birdie on the 13th, and needed only three birdies in the last five holes to go below 60. Trouble is, he had no idea the Shore Course was a par 70. He made one more birdie for a 61. “I was looking at the scorecard like, ‘What’s the par here?’ I did not know it was a par 70,” Wi said. “That 59 never crossed my mind. Not once.”
Lee holed a bunker shot for eagle at the second and holed out from the 11th fairway with a wedge for another eagle to take a share of the lead. Johnson overpowered the par 5s at Pebble Beach. He had a 6-iron for his second shot at the par-5 second for an easy birdie, holed a 65-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole, got up and down from a bunker on the 14th for birdie, then cringed when his 40-foot eagle attempt on the 18th just turned away.
“I thought it was going in,” Johnson said. “I was laughing. I made plenty of putts today.”
Woods opened with consecutive birdies, stiffing his approach on the tenth and two-putting for birdie on the par-5 11th. He also holed a downhill, eight-foot birdie putt on the 17th that was good enough to elicit a small fist pump, and from behind the par-5 opening hole, hit a flop shot to seven feet and made that. He made two bogeys and played the par 5s in three under.
“I don’t know if it’s a good sign or a bad sign,” Woods said about his 68. “With the scores the way they are, I thought I could have it lower than I did. The guys are just tearing this place apart with no wind.”
His partner, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, contributed pars on the holes where Woods made bogey, and Romo had a birdie on the par-5 14th when Woods missed the fairway. As a team, they were tied for 25th.
Scotland’s Russell Knox was the top Briton after matching Woods with a four-under 68 at Spyglass Hill. On the same course fellow Scot Martin Laird shot 70.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east