Dustin Johnson’s Early Move to Four-Under Holds Up at the U.S. Open

The U.S. Open got a little more interesting after Friday afternoon. Dustin Johnson went out in the morning and set the bar by climbing to four-under, and he did a lot of it in the rain. It didn’t look like anyone was going to catch him considering at one point in the day he was the only player under par, but the weather cleared up and the winds died down and then the European Ryder Cup team, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, and Tommy Fleetwood tried to chase him down.

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Ian Poulter was the main culprit, which isn’t too surprising considering it is a Ryder Cup year. Everything was rolling for Poulter until he arrived at the par-4 eighth hole. With only one bogey and three birdies on the day, he seemed unfazed by all of the attention. His tee shot found the fairway, but he flared his second shot into a bunker. From there things got worse. His shot out was badly skulled. His next shot was a complete disaster and resembled something you’d probably see most amateurs do.

He followed that up with another disappointing chip and as quickly as he had climbed to three-under, he fell to even with a triple-bogey. While it was a disappointing end to a very good round, Poulter, now at one-over, is still in contention

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Justin Rose also mounted a charge and although he got into red numbers, he finished his round with back-to-back bogies and dropped to one-over. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has the game to give DJ a run this weekend, and he’s had a phenomenal season so don’t expect him to go away quietly.

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Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka tied Tommy Fleetwood’s low round of 66. Koepka has been playing extremely well since returning from injury, and with two bogies and six birdies he has put himself into contention heading into the weekend once again.

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Rickie Fowler is doing that thing he does where he climbs into the top five at a major championship. Fowler started the day at three-over, and if it weren’t for a bogey on the 18th hole he would have finished the day inside the top five. By all accounts he probably should have finished better, and appeared to be striking the ball extremely well all day.

I still believe he has a great chance at making a run.

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Thanks to FOX’s unrivaled feature group coverage of Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy, we got to watch as Spieth made four birdies in a row on the back nine to climb to eight-over and get inside the cut line. Unfortunately he followed that up with two very disappointing bogies on the 17th and 18th holes to fall to nine-over par. We got to see Phil finish at one-under on the day and move to six-over for the tournament, just inside the cutline, and we also got to see Rory McIlroy make a late run with four birdies on the back nine to get to 10-over.

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At the end of the day, Johnson was still the only player under par. Johnson’s four-stroke lead doesn’t seem like much, but it sure does look like he is going to be tough to beat at this point.

The Big Lead

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