x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Johnson in pole position as delayed Tournament of Champions finally starts

Dustin Johnson led the field after the wind-delayed PGA season opener in Hawaii finally got underway with a double sesson of rounds.

Dustin Johnson hits a tee shot under a rainbow as the Tournament of Champions finally begins in Hawaii.
Dustin Johnson hits a tee shot under a rainbow as the Tournament of Champions finally begins in Hawaii.

Dustin Johnson powered into a three-shot lead heading into the third and final round as the first PGA tournament of the year at the year finally got underway.

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions had been delayed for three days as winds of up to 50mph made play impossible in Hawaii, meaning two rounds had to be completed today.

Johnson did not let the late start affect him, as he missed just three greens in regulation, with his accuracy helping him to four putts at eagle on the back nine in the second round.

Johnson emerged from the Monday marathon on 11-under par 135 after posting rounds of 69 and 66.

"I wasn't tired at all," Johnson said of the day's double duty. "We had not played any golf, so I was ready to go, first round of the year, play 36 holes. This course is a tough walk and it's really windy out there, but I'm in pretty good shape. I can handle it."

He ended the day on a high note, with an eagle on the par-five 18th in the second round. That went with six birdies and one bogey in his seven-under effort.

Johnson is three shots clear of fellow American Steve Stricker, whose first round of 71 was followed up with an impressive 67, with an eagle at the last following up three consecutive birdies from 13.

Stricker was in danger of not completing the day, having not yet recovered from shooting pains down his left side which he has felt for the past month.

"Nobody knows if it's a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there's a problem with a disc," he said afterwards.

"I'm just trying to keep it in front of me and play the smart shots."

Bubba Watson is a further shot back at eight under after he recovered from two dropped shots in the opening nine holes to pick up four birdies in the back nine to move into contention.

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