Dustin Johnson keeps cool, shares Round 1 lead at U.S. Open

Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Johnson keeps cool, shares Round 1 lead at U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson keeps cool, shares Round 1 lead at U.S. Open

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – What rattles Dustin Johnson? Bad drivers. As in behind the wheel, not off the tee.

“That’s about the only time he gets a little hotheaded,” said Johnson’s younger brother Austin. “He likes to get to where he’s going — quickly.”

On a day when many of the game’s biggest stars imploded, World No. 1 Johnson took the bullets of Shinnecock Hills in stride. And not just any stride, but that familiar too-cool-for-school saunter of a gunslinger who is ready to rumble.

Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, was in complete control on a day when the wind whipped players into a tizzy. Tiger Woods, who played alongside Johnson, opened with a triple bogey and never settled into form, posting a forgettable 78. Phil Mickelson (77), Jordan Spieth (78) and Rory McIroy (80) rounded out the Mount Rushmore of disappointments.

“My game plan was not to make any ‘others’,” said Woods, referring to big numbers, “and I made three of them.”

In the field of 156, there were 161 double bogeys. Only four broke par. The Round 1 scoring average: 76.47.

Johnson, 33, headlines a foursome of players tied at 1-under 69, joining Scott Piercy, Ian Poulter and Russell Henley. Jason Dufner is the only player at even par.

The explosive Johnson won for a second time this season at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, holing out for eagle on the 72nd hole to put an exclamation point on a six-stroke victory. After the trophy presentation and media obligations, it was straight to New York. No time for anything special to celebrate PGA Tour victory No. 18.

“I ate a pizza and drank a Diet Coke,” said Austin with a smile, “that was my reward.”

On Monday the pair of brothers hit the gym before Dustin headed to the Bronx to help open the new clubhouse at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. Then it was out to Shinnecock Hills for a first look.

Johnson got off to a flying start on Thursday, with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to jump out to a quick lead. A wayward drive off the tee led to a frantic search party in the fescue that ultimately ended when Rich Beem, who was working for Sky Sports, accidentally stepped on Johnson’s ball. Johnson got a free drop from there and went on to make bogey.

“Well, there was a guy standing there, they watched it bounce in there,” said Johnson, “and he kind of just stood on the hill and waited for all of us to come up. You would think he would go and at least mark kind of the spot where it was. But, you know, probably should have never even had to come to that.”

Johnson holed a terrific bunker shot on the eighth hole to regain momentum, casually pointing toward the sky as the crowd erupted. He hit 10 fairways and nine greens and took 26 putts, ranking tied for third.

Last month at The Players Championship, Dustin asked his brother to read every putt. At Shinnecock, he didn’t read one.

“Today, when he’s focused like he is,” said Austin, “my main job is to stay out of his way.”

The rest of the field might unwittingly do the same.

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