Dustin Johnson starts fast with 65 at Palmetto Championship at CongareeWorld No. 1 hasn’t had a top-10 finish since February
June 10, 2021
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- June 10, 2021
Dustin Johnson's 81-foot chip-in birdie to end Round 1 at Palmetto Championship
RIDGELAND, S.C. – Dustin Johnson appears to be heating up just in time for summer.
After missing the cut in two of his last four starts, including the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, and failing to register a top-10 finish since The Genesis Invitational in February, world No. 1 Johnson quickly established himself on the leaderboard at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.
Despite failing to birdie any of the course’s three par-5s, Johnson made six birdies – the last a chip-in from 81 feet at the ninth hole – and no bogeys for an opening-round 65.
He was tied at the top with Doc Redman amongst the morning wave of finishers.
Jhonattan Vegas (66) bogeyed his last hole and was one back.
“Yeah, I mean, you know, I'm playing well,” Johnson said of his recent form, which has seen him fall to 19th in the FedExCup. “I feel like I've been playing pretty good all year, just, like I said, I haven't putted well, short game's been a little off, but today I missed it in the right spots when I did miss it, but hit a lot of real quality iron shots and gave myself a lot of looks.”
Johnson, a 24-time winner on the PGA TOUR but never in his home state of South Carolina, took some time away from the game – “Clearing my head,” he said – after missing the cut at the PGA. But he got right back to work last week. He came to Congaree ranked 106th in Strokes Gained: Putting but took just 23 putts in the steamy opening round.
It was progress, even if that stat was slightly deceiving; several of his approaches trickled just onto the collar around the greens, and he was 7-for-7 in scrambling. Although pleased with the round, Johnson walked away thinking about the birdies that got away, like his putt from just 4 1/2 feet that missed the hole at the par-3 fifth hole.
Still, he wasn’t complaining. And the coast-to-coast birdie to close things out on nine was a nice way to end it. He admitted he would’ve been happy just to get up and down; instead, he jarred his third shot from well left of the green for his final birdie.
The last time he competed the week before a major was back in November, when he finished T2 at the Vivint Houston Open before flying to Georgia and winning the Masters.
“I felt like I've been swinging well for a while now,” he said, “just haven't really seen the results or seen the scores. Made a few putts, but, yeah, I mean just playing solid – finally put a round together. … Hopefully I can keep it rolling for the rest of this week.”