Former world No. 1 Johnson grabs PGA St. Jude lead

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LOS ANGELES, June 9, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Dustin Johnson, tuning up for the US
Open and aiming to regain the world number one ranking, fired a seven-under
par 63 on Friday to grab the second-round lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Johnson holed out for an eagle and nabbed six birdies as he built a 10-
under par total of 130 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.

Johnson had a one-shot lead over fellow Americans Ryan Blaum and Andrew
Putnam.

“I feel like I’m playing really well,” said Johnson, who lost the number
one ranking to Justin Thomas last month after reigning for 64 straight weeks.

“I’m swinging the club well. I know if I can drive it in the fairway I’m
going to give myself a good look for birdie. I felt like I did that pretty
much all day.

“I hit a lot of great shots in there, had a lot of good looks at birdie.”

Johnson opened with a birdie at the 10th. After bogeys at 12 and 13 he
bounced back with birdies at 14 and 16.

He jump-started his round with an eagle at the first, where he holed out
with a wedge from 111 yards.

Johnson’s approach at the second left him less than a foot for birdie, and
he added birdies at three, six and nine — and needed only 24 putts in the
round.

“I’m rolling it down the line I’m looking,” Johnson said. “If I can get a
good read and good speed, they’re going to go in.”

Blaum had seven birdies in a six-under 64 and as did Putnam as they shared
second on nine-under 131.

Taiwan’s C.T. Pan and American Wesley Bryan were a further stroke back and
Brandt Snedeker was on 133 after a sizzling 62 that featured eight birdies
without a bogey.

Snedeker, coming back this season after injury sidelined him for much of
2017, said it was encouraging to see his work paying off.

“Until you start seeing results, you start questioning what you’re doing,”
he said. “You need to see these positive days, where it’s, ‘OK, I am doing
the right stuff, and it’s coming around. I’m not losing my mind.'”

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, trying to build momentum for a run
at the US Open title that has so long eluded him, followed up his first-round
66 with an even par 70.

“It’s tough to get the ball on the green if you don’t drive it in the
fairway,” Mickelson said. “And around the greens it’s tough because the rough
is challenging. I made a few bogeys because I struggled with the difficulty
around the greens.

“I didn’t really have it today, but I was able to close out the round with
a couple of birdies and get it back to even and I’m in a decent position.”

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