Dustin Johnson returns with pain-free 70 at Wells Fargo Championship

Dustin Johnson-PGA Tour-Wells Fargo Championship-2017-Masters Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Dustin Johnson returns with pain-free 70 at Wells Fargo Championship

PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson returns with pain-free 70 at Wells Fargo Championship

Dustin Johnson Thursday played his first competitive round of golf since missing the Masters with a back injury, shooting a pain-free 2-under 70 during the opening round of the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C.

“I’m happy with the way I played. I didn’t score that great. I didn’t hole many putts, but I played really well,” Johnson, ranked No. 1 in the world, told PGATOUR.com after his match. “Everything feels good (physically). I can’t complain there.”

Johnson hit his first 10 greens and 16 greens overall in regulation, 40 days since he last played on the PGA Tour. He enters play Friday tied for 15th, four shots back of Francesco Molinari.

The ever-steady Johnson made an early charge after teeing off from No. 10 early in the day, and was 3-under after six holes. He came in at a 3-under 33 after nine holes.

Johnson is riding a three-tournament winning streak heading into this week’s event – having won the Genesis Open, the WGC Dell Match Play, and the WGC Mexico Championship. Johnson had not much chance to practice before Thursday because of the sore back, but he looked like he hadn’t missed a minute.

“The golf swing is in good shape. If I hit it like I did again today, I’ll be there Sunday.”

Only Tiger Woods (three times) and Ben Hogan (1953) have won more than three consecutive PGA Tour events since 1953.

“Maybe I played it a little more conservatively,” he later told Todd Lewis of Golf Channel. “I had a lot of good looks at birdies.”

Johnson’s putter was a bit rusty and failed him on the par-3 2nd hole and again on the par-4 9th hole.

Still, Johnson was not about to fault the course at Eagle Point, which was getting rave reviews early on in the tournament. “It’s challenging. The greens are perfect. (The course) is in perfect condition.”

Weather will be an issue Friday morning, with rain and wind expected.

 

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