Dustin Johnson suggested that he will not let the trauma of his US Open collapse at Chambers Bay prevent him from finally claiming major glory after firing a flawless 65 to lead after the first round of the 144th Open Championship.
The powerful American fired five birdies and an eagle in his first competitive round since three-putting the 72nd hole of his national championship to re-occupy the top of the leaderboard in a major once again.
Johnson started strongly, with birdies on 2 and 3, before rolling in a brilliant putt for an eagle on 5. His game looked in excellent shape as he confidently rolled in putts and boomed drives down the St Andrews fairways on a fairly benign weather day.
Dustin Johnson would be the first player to take the 18-hole lead in both Opens since Gary Player in 1974. pic.twitter.com/KtBprW1vvX
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 16, 2015
“Everyone knows the weather is going to get difficult, so it was important to get off to a good start and try to get as many birdies as you can,” said the 31-year-old Johnson.
Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth – who partnered Johnson today – kept his quest for a third successive major alive after a promising 67.
Spieth, who is seeking to become the first man since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win the first three majors of the year, flew through the opening nine in just 31 strokes, but struggled slightly on the closing stretch, offsetting a further two birdies with a couple of bogeys.
“The game plan was to get into position after round one and that’s what we’ve done,” said Spieth, after his first competitive round at St Andrews.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing the Open here as it’s so iconic, so for my first round to go the way it has is great.”
There was no such birdie blitz for three-time Open champion Tiger Woods however, as he hacked his way to a career-worst number of 76 around St Andrews.
Woods only managed one birdie as he struggled to get any momentum going, finding himself in a T140 by the end of the day.
In his last 7 majors plus 1 round, Tiger Woods is a combined 46 over par pic.twitter.com/zgHkb3Pdb0
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 16, 2015
The highest-placed British players are Paul Lawrie and Danny Willett, who both shot 66 on a day of low-scoring. Jason Day, who fought through a bout of vertigo to remain in contention at the US Open in June, is also well-placed after a solid 66.