Johnson edges Spanish duo on first day in Boston
Mickelson can boss threeball once again
Dustin Johnson picked up where he left off in the first round of the Dell Technologies Championship, the world number one cruising to a five-under-par 66 to immediately assume the lead at TPC Boston.
Johnson won The Northern Trust – the opening event of the FedEx Cup playoffs – on Sunday. He started this week as an 8-1 chance to follow up with victory in Boston and the power-packed Carolinian has shortened to a best-price 9-4 after laying an excellent foundation.
Johnson played alongside Northern Trust runner-up Jordan Spieth, the superstar duo renewing their playoffs rivalry, and Spieth struggled to a 72. A six-shot gap between the two pre-tournament market leaders is already significant and Spieth has drifted to 30-1.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia and his fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm scored best of the afternoon starters to move within one shot of Johnson, while Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler will have been pleased with afternoon rounds of 69.
Several big names made poor starts on a day where TPC Boston was playing tougher than usual, dry and difficult greens causing serious problems.
Rory McIlroy endured a four-putt at the 11th hole. The Northern Irishman was putting for birdie from 11 feet, but ended up with a double-bogey on his way to a 72.
Jason Day also suffered dancefloor hell, three-putting from four feet on the 12th hole, then missing from three feet on the next. He dropped five shots in the space of three holes, the Australian giving himself a mountain to climb after carding a miserable 75.
Second-round action starts at 1.15pm UK and Ireland time, with sunshine and light breezes expected all day. Outright punters should be focusing on Johnson, Garcia and Rahm, while threeball punters are pointed towards Mickelson, who can account for Ian Poulter and a limping Lucas Glover for the second day running (1.27pm).
Despite a cold putter, Mickelson went two under par in round one on a track which plays to his strengths. The attacking left-hander seems likely to boss the group again.
2pts 6-4 general