Jul
18
2015
Catch DJ if you can!
By Stephanie Wei under British Open

Thing is, you probably won’t. Dustin Johnson is dusting the Old Course and isn’t showing any signs of letting up. He’s overpowering St Andrews and the only person who can probably beat him is himself. Unless he gets in his own way as he has in four previous majors, look for Johnson only to extend his lead in the third round Sunday (yep, it’s officially a Monday finish after yet another long delay on Saturday due to gale-force winds), which will make him nearly impossible to beat at the 144th Open Championship.

Despite playing in the toughest of conditions when play resumed at 7am, Johnson managed to hold on to a one-shot lead over Danny Willett at 10-under after posting a three-under 69 in the second round.

Overall, given the conditions, DJ was pleased with his second round.

“Yesterday when we started the round, it was difficult on the way out, and then coming back in, it even played more difficult,” he said. “This morning when we started, it was almost impossible, but I managed to hang in there, and then when we just went out and restarted, it was very tough, but managed to make some good pars and then birdie the last hole. So it was a good way to finish the day.”

The golfers probably shouldn’t have been sent out in the first place, but DJ, who was just short of the par-5 14th in two after play was called due to darkness Friday night, decided to chip his third shot instead of putting it. It looked like he just made a poor decision followed by a mediocre shot, but the wind knocked the ball down, blowing it off the green.

“It was an easy pitch,” said Johnson. “I chipped it, the wind kind of beat it down a little bit, and it hit the top of the hill. Just it hit the very top and then kind of checked. If it flies another foot, it rolls right down to the hole.”

Instead of rushing to mark it, he took his time and sauntered to the ball.

“Then when I went up to mark it, yeah, I got probably an inch from the ground. I was almost — my coin was about to hit the ground when it took off. Then I went to mark it again, and I think it took off again. And then Jordan was running to his ball. It was pretty funny. Yeah, I wasn’t laughing too hard. I was laughing at him. I wasn’t laughing at myself. But yeah, at that moment I was thinking, why didn’t I putt it, yeah, for sure.”

What should have been a pretty straightforward birdie resulted in a bogey.

“Maybe a little,” said Johnson when asked if he was angry to be out on the course in the first place. “I don’t know, everyone was out there, so it wasn’t like I was the only one on the course. No, I wasn’t angry, I was — I mean, I was almost laughing because the ball was just blowing across the green. But yeah, I was a little pissed when I made a bogey.”

After play was called merely 32 minutes after it resumed on Saturday morning, the golfers weren’t sent out again until 6pm local time. The break was fortuitous for DJ, who then managed to play the last four holes at one-under to retake the outright lead.

“Fortunately it happened in kind of the end part of the second round, so we’ve still got a lot of golf to play, so it is what it is,” he said. “Can’t do anything to change it. But I came back strong and played 1-under after that to the house on three difficult holes and then 18 was kind of a birdie hole.”

As DJ’s mantra usually is, sh*t happens and you simply have to move on. If he hangs on for the next two rounds, which you have to think that he will, it will be one hell of a redemption story after his disappointing finish at the U.S. Open last month.

History bodes well for Johnson: The 36-hole leader has won each of the last five times The Open Championship has been held at St. Andrews (1990: Nick Faldo, 1995: John Daly, 2000: Tiger Woods, 2005: Woods, 2010: Louis Oosthuizen).