Golf

Dustin Johnson, Andrew Landry tied for US Open lead

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Dustin Johnson, Andrew Landry tied for US Open lead

OAKMONT, Pa. - Dustin Johnson unleashed another powerful tee shot that got lost in the darkening sky over Oakmont. Positioned some 200 yards away on a forward tee, his caddie tried to track the flight of the ball until he gave up and said, "Where did it go?"

Like he even had to ask.

One year after Johnson let the U.S. Open slip away from him at Chambers Bay, he drove his way to the top of the leaderboard Friday at Oakmont on a marathon day of 36 holes with rounds of 67-69 that left him poised for another shot at a major.

"I've got a good game plan for this course," Johnson said. "And if I keep driving it like I am, I'll be tough to beat."
More than the long ball, Johnson has a short memory.

For all his chances in the majors - four of them and counting - he has the remarkable capacity to move on. The most crushing was last summer at Chambers Bay, when Johnson had a 12-foot eagle putt to win the U.S. Open and three-putted to finish one behind Jordan Spieth.

When asked if last year motivated him, Johnson deadpanned, "What happened last year."

This year has been nothing short of impressive. Johnson played 27 holes before making his only bogey in two rounds. He still hasn't made a birdie on a par 5. And he was at 4-under 136, the best score by two shots of the 50 players who finished two rounds in the rain-delayed championship.

Andrew Landry had a much shorter day.

The 28-year-old qualifier only had to hit one shot Friday when he returned in the morning to make a 10-foot birdie putt for a 66 and the lead. It was the best opening round in 10 majors at Oakmont, beating a record shared by Ben Hogan and Tom Watson.

Landry also became the first player in 30 years to have the sole lead after his first U.S. Open round. Now his name shares billing with Johnson, whom Spieth recently described as "arguably the most talented player on the PGA Tour."

Landry doesn't start his second round until Saturday morning.

Three storm delays Thursday left a disjointed schedule and no clear picture of who's in control. The nine players who completed the opening round Thursday, including 19-year-old Scottie Scheffler and his 69, had the entire day off Friday. Those who had to return to finish the first round initially were given tee times deep into the evening until the USGA decided it best that everyone from that half of the field - including Spieth at 2 over - start Saturday morning.

Sergio Garcia, who also knows his share of heartache in the majors, stayed with Johnson as best he could. He made a tough par on No. 4 by playing his third shot from the fifth fairway. And he finished his round with a 50-foot par putt for a 70.
Garcia was at 2-under 138, along with Scott Piercy, who also went 68-70.

"I'm too old for this," the 36-year-old Spaniard said. "We know how difficult the U.S. Open is, and here at Oakmont even tougher."

On the leaderboard, they were one shot behind Lee Westwood, who closed with two birdies in the morning for a 67.
Daniel Summerhays had a tournament-best 65 and joined Andy Sullivan (68) at 1-under 139. Jim Furyk, a runner-up at Oakmont in the 2007 U.S. Open, also was at 1 under with one hole remaining before play was halted by darkness.

Johnson made his only bogey when he found a deep bunker left of the first fairway, a rare miss off the tee. He could only advance the ball about 40 yards and narrowly missed a 20-foot par putt. He missed plenty of other birdie chances along the way, not alarming because Oakmont's greens are difficult to putt.

Far more impressive was his accuracy.

Johnson missed only three fairways in the second round, and he has missed only five greens through two rounds. If the lead stands after the second round is over, it would match the lowest 36-hole score in a U.S. Open at Oakmont. And he still hasn't made a birdie on a par 5 in two rounds.

"It was a long day today, but I felt like I played really solid all day for all 36 holes," he said. "I drove it really well."
Spieth, who finished off a round of only one birdie for a 72, returned to Oakmont in the afternoon to putt. Rory McIlroy, who matched his worst score in a U.S. Open with a 77, came back to work on his swing.

On the course, other stars were struggling.

Jason Day, the No. 1 player in the world, opened with a 76 and was at 5 over with three holes remaining. Phil Mickelson was in danger of missing the cut for the second straight time at Oakmont. He was at 7 over with two holes remaining.

For Johnson, it's time to put up his feet and contemplate another run at a major.

"He played awesome," Garcia said. "It's impressive. He drove the ball great, very far. I don't think he missed many fairways at all. Out of 36 holes here at Oakmont with only one bogey, it shows you have to play really, really well. He's going to be tough to beat, but I'll give it a shot."

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.

PGA: Justin Thomas wins Boston for fifth title of the season

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PGA: Justin Thomas wins Boston for fifth title of the season

NORTON, Mass. -- The victories keep piling up for Justin Thomas, and all that does is make him want more.

In a Labor Day finish that was harder than the final margin suggested, Thomas kept his patience when Jordan Spieth shot out to a brief lead and Marc Leishman built a two-shot lead at the turn. Keeping his mistakes to a minimum, Thomas outlasted them both by closing with a 5-under 66 for a three-shot victory in the Dell Technologies Championship.

He started the PGA Tour season at No. 34 in the world with all of one PGA Tour victory.

Thomas won for the fifth time Monday, including his first major three weeks ago at the PGA Championship. He is No. 4 in the world. And barring Spieth running the tables the rest of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the 24-year-old Thomas would seem to be a lock to be voted PGA Tour player of the year.

"I have two events left. I have two more opportunities to win," Thomas said. "And I'd love to make it six or seven wins."

Thomas made only two bogeys all week, the last one putting him in a three-way tie with seven holes to play. He won on the back nine at TPC Boston with a sand wedge he gouged out of the rough to 6 feet on No. 13, a gap wedge to 4 feet on No. 15 for another birdie, and a 6-foot par save that kept him two shots clear.

Spieth wasted a start that riled up the New England crowd - birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie - by missing the 14th green with a 5-iron for bogey. Needing an eagle to stay in the game on the par-5 18th, Spieth pushed a 4-iron into a tough lie in the bunker, blasted over the green and made bogey for a 67.

Spieth was runner-up for the second straight week in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He lost a three-shot lead to Dustin Johnson on Long Island. There wasn't much he could have done to stop Thomas, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers.

"Came out firing, like I said we had to do," Spieth said. "Eight through 14 is the meat of the golf course. You want to get through even. I got through over par and didn't get any coming in when I hit some good putts."

Spieth still moved to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup with one more event before the $10 million prize is decided at the Tour Championship.

Leishman shot 30 on the front to build a two-shot lead, only for it to vanish quickly. He had to save bogey on No. 10 after an errant drive. He three-putted from long range for bogey on the 11th. He found a bunker on the 12th for a third straight bogey. And then he closed with two bogeys that only cost him money. Leishman shot 70.

Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world coming off his fourth victory of the season last week, started the final round three shots behind and was one of the few players who was never in contention. He took two to get out of a fairway bunker and made bogey on the par-5 second hole, and he closed with a 73 to finish 10 behind.

Spieth was simply dynamic at the start. He didn't need to make a putt longer than 12 feet to go 5 under for the opening four holes and briefly take the lead. Leishman, who won at Bay Hill in March, kept stride with six birdies on the front nine to match Spieth's 30 and move in front.

Thomas did his part to stay in the game.

He could hear the crowd celebrating Spieth's short birdie on the fourth hole, and then Thomas belted a low slider of a drive that barely cleared the deep bunker, hit into the shaggy collar and hopped onto the fringe. He holed that 30-footer for an eagle, and the race was on.

Phil Mickelson birdied three of his opening four holes. He couldn't keep pace. Neither could Jon Rahm or Paul Casey.

The final round was so tight that Thomas, Spieth and Leishman were tied for the lead with seven holes to play. But then it all changed when Spieth missed the green at No. 14, did well to hit a flop shot to 15 feet and narrowly missed his par putt.

Thomas steadied himself after his lone bogey on the par-3 11th. Equipped with a one-shot lead because of Spieth's bogey, Thomas hit a sand wedge to 4 feet on the 15th for a birdie and a two-shot lead. Equally important was his pitch out of deep rough to the right of the 16th to a green that ran away from him. He managed to hit it 6 feet and twice clutched his fist when it dropped for par.

Spieth grazed the edge of the cup with a 10-foot birdie attempt on the 17th, and then lost all hope with his approach into the bunker.

It was the first time Spieth has finished runner-up to Thomas, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers.

Kevin Chappell bogeyed his last hole and still managed to nudge Charley Hoffman by a fraction of a point to earn the 10th and final automatic spot on the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup.

Stewart Cink closed with a 68 to finish 12th, more than enough for him to advance to the third FedEx Cup playoff event outside Chicago for the first time in seven years. Emiliano Grillo and Rafa Cabrera Bello also moved into the top 70 to advance to the BMW Championship in two weeks.

PGA: Thomas fires off a 63, shares lead with Leishman in Boston

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PGA: Thomas fires off a 63, shares lead with Leishman in Boston

NORTON, Mass. - PGA champion Justin Thomas made three long birdies on a long, wet TPC Boston for a tournament-best 63, giving him a share of the lead with Marc Leishman going into a Labor Day finish in the Dell Technologies Championship.

Leishman also played bogey-free Sunday and had three straight birdies on the back nine for a 65.

They were at 12-under 201 with no room for error on a leaderboard that was packed with some of golf's best players.

Paul Casey, who played in the final group last year at TPC Boston, shot 67 and was one shot behind. Jordan Spieth birdied his last two holes and was among those two shots back.

Not to be forgotten was Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his last five holes and was three behind.