Dustin Johnson taking control of the playoffs, leads outright at Dell Technologies Championship

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Dustin Johnson taking control of the playoffs, leads outright at Dell Technologies Championship

PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson taking control of the playoffs, leads outright at Dell Technologies Championship

NORTON, MASS. — This is the guy who was supposed to win the Masters. This is the guy who, after winning the Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, was supposed to dominate the season. And unfortunately for the other 97 players in the field here at TPC Boston, this is also the guy who drained a 17-foot putt last week on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Jordan Spieth, then nuked a 341-yard drive to set up a victory at the Northern Trust. 

The guy is, of course, Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1-ranked player who shot 5-under 66 Friday morning to take the lead at the Dell Technologies Championship, the second event in the FedEx Cup Playoff series.

“I got off to a good start right out of the gate on the first hole and made a nice 25-footer,” Johnson said, underestimating his putt which was really 36-feet long. “Then, you know, just I kind of kept it rolling from there.” 

In all, Johnson made two bogeys, five birdies and carded an eagle on the 533-yard par-5 18th (his ninth hole). 

“I had 205 front, I think 220 hole,” Johnson said talking about his eagle. “You know, the wind is down off the left, and I hit a 6-iron. It was a perfect 6-iron for me. I was getting a little bit of help there, and I just hit a really nice shot.” 

That’s an understatement because Johnson’s “pretty good” 6-iron from 220 yards away rolled to a stop just 4’5″ from the cup.

This is the guy that no one should want to play right now and who is taking control of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 

“I finally feel like I’m swinging the club how I was, you know, when I was playing really well at the beginning of the year,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a lot of control over (my game). I feel like I can control my golf ball very well, which is what you’ve got to do in these conditions.”

Friday morning dawned cool at TPC Boston, with temperatures in the high 40s. As it got warmer through the morning, the wind picked up and made club selection and picking targets off the tee and from the fairway tricky. 

In fact, conditions were difficult enough that Jordan Spieth shot a 1-over 72, U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka shot 74 and Daniel Berger and Zach Johnson each shot 77. Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, shot 78. 

Kyle Stanley, the winner of the Quicken Loans National, and Marc Leishman shot 4-under 67s in the morning wave to finish a shot behind Johnson. 

Masters champion Sergio Garcia shot 67 in the afternoon, as did fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm after he missed a 32-footer for eagle on the 18th hole. 

Only the top 70 golfers on the FedEx Cup point list at the conclusion of this event qualify to compete in the next playoff event, the BMW Championship outside Chicago in two weeks. Some players helped their chances of keeping their season alive, while others did not do themselves any favors. 

Grayson Murray moved off the bubble of the projected-finish list, rising from 70th to 44th after shooting 68, and Jonas Blixt went up 36 spots after his 68 lifted him from 84 to 49.  Adam Scott, who skipped last week’s Northern Trust so he could be in Australia for the birth of his son, Byron, moved from No. 73 to a projected 66th thanks to an even-par 71.

Meanwhile, Bubba Watson’s 75 dropped him from 73 to a projected 85 after the conclusion of play Friday, and Danny Lee’s 75 made him fall from 62 to 72 on the list. As of Friday night, the last player projected into the field at the BMW Championship is Russell Knox (70th), and the first player to be left out is Anirban Lahiri (71st).

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