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April 11 2013

9:05 PM

Can Dustin Johnson win a Masters?

Johnson had just 26 putts in Thursday's opening round. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Dustin Johnson thinks Augusta National suits his game.

The results, however, have dictated otherwise. In three trips down Magnolia Lane, he's never finished higher than 30th. After a 5-under 67 to get within one of the lead on Thursday, however, he hopes to change that.

"This is one of those courses, the more you play it, the more you get to know it," Johnson said. "You kind of know where you need to hit it so you can actually have a chance to get up‑and‑down or you know what side of the fairway to miss it on at certain flags."

He didn't miss much in the opening round this year.

Johnson had four birdies, an eagle and just one bogey. He also hit 13 greens and took just 26 putts.

Two of those birdies came in Johnson's first two holes, which included a chip-in on No. 1. He added another chip-in for birdie on the par-4 ninth, then reached the par-5 13th in two and made the 15-foot putt for eagle.

Johnson is back at the Masters after missing it due to a back injury last year.

"I've played OK here in the past, just not great," Johnson said. "Not playing last year, and then coming back this year and getting a good round is really good. It feels good."

So does how Augusta National fits his eye.

"I love the shape of all the holes," he said. "The par 5s are all reachable, depending on which way the wind is blowing, with pretty short irons, except for 8."

He played them in a combined 4 under with two birdies, an eagle and a par.

As for why he hasn't had better results here?

"It's just a tough golf course to figure out like where to hit it, and using slopes, and then certain putts you have," he said. "Like I said, you learn something new around here every day you play it."

Thursday, it looked like Johnson learned a lot.

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