Johnson Takes Things in His Stride
Dustin Johnson seemed to be the most relaxed man at St Andrews after posting a seven-under-par 65 to take the early lead during the first round of The 144TH Open Championship at St Andrews.
The 31 year-old from South Carolina might have three-putted the last to lose last month’s US Open but it clearly has done no lasting psychological damage as he bids to win his first Major title over the Atlantic in the home of golf.
“I’ve said this a bunch of times but there was nothing to get upset about,” he said. “I played well (at Chambers Bay). I did everything I was supposed to. There was nothing you could do on those greens to make the ball go where you wanted to go. I put myself in the right positions. I just couldn’t control what the ball was doing on the greens and I don’t think I can blame myself for that.”
It was a relaxed Johnson who began his seventh Open Championship at St Andrews and he was quickly in his stride with birdies at the 2ND and 3RD and an eagle on the par-5 5TH. He also gained shots at the 9TH and 10TH and then defied the strengthening wind coming home with his fifth birdie of the day at the 14TH.
“I had a good look at birdie all day,” he said. “I think the only times I was out of position was at the 16TH and 17TH and I made a 10-footer for par on the 16TH and a 15-footer for par on 17. Other than that it was pretty relaxed.”
Johnson went on to say he felt the old course sets up well for his game.
“I think it challenges every part of your game,” he said. “You’ve got to drive it well. You’ve got to miss the bunkers. That’s first and foremost. And then coming into the greens you’ve got to be very precise with where you’re landing the ball and what side of the hole you want to land it on. I think it challenges everything.
“It’s going to be tough tomorrow,” he added. “Everybody knows the weather Friday and Saturday is going to be very difficult so it was important to get off to a fast start today.
“I enjoy the bad weather. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow but I like it. You’ve got to be creative and use your imagination when the wind is blowing that hard.”