Friday, October 18, 2019 | ePaper
Johnson takes 1-shot lead over Spieth at Liberty National
AFP, Jersey City :
Dustin Johnson has missed nine birdie chances from 10 feet or closer at Liberty National, which ordinarily might annoy him.
He's hitting it so well that he still leads The Northern Trust Open.
Johnson birdied three of his last six holes Friday, finishing with an approach to 8 feet on the 489-yard closing hole, for a 4-under 67 that gave him a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth (64) going into the weekend.
Johnson has won this FedEx Cup playoffs opener twice at other courses. He was at 12-under 130.
"I've got a lot of control with the golf ball and hitting a lot of really nice shots and rolled in a couple putts today which is nice, but still feel like I left quite a few out there," Johnson said. "I'm in a good position heading into the weekend, and if I can keep swinging the way I am, I think it's going to be a good weekend."
The weekend does not include Masters champion Tiger Woods, and neither did Friday.
Woods, who opened with a 75, withdrew a few hours before his second round was to begin because of what he described as a mild strain to the oblique that Woods says was causing pain and stiffness. It's the first time he withdrew in the middle of a tournament since February 2017, two months before fusion surgery on his lower back. He said he was hopeful to play next week at Medinah.
Spieth might be finding some form at just the right time. Winless in more than two years, he started the PGA Tour's postseason at No. 69 in the FedEx Cup with no assurance of staying among the top 70 who advance to next week at Medinah.
He might be one round away from thinking more about winning. Spieth was on the same score (131) that he was going into the weekend last week at the Wyndham Championship, where he followed with a 77 and missed the 54-hole cut. His shots have been tighter, his misses not that severe and he even got some good fortune on his final hole that led to a birdie and a spot in the last group with a familiar face.