World number one Dustin Johnson believes accuracy is the key to his chances of winning the US PGA Championship after opening with a three-under-par 67.
On the heels of back-to-back top-two finishes, 2016 U.S. Open champion Johnson ended the opening round three strokes adrift of leader Gary Woodland in St Louis on Thursday.
Johnson reached five under at one point, momentarily tying Rickie Fowler for the lead, but he bogeyed two of his last five holes to fall back at Bellerive Country Club.
"I felt like the day was pretty solid. Hit a lot of putts. Made a few, missed a few," Johnson said after his round.
"Didn't drive it quite as well as I'd like to. We had a bunch of — hit a few fairways, but I didn't hit as many as I needed to if I wanted to shoot a low score."
Johnson, normally one of the best drivers of the golf ball on the PGA Tour, hit just 57 per cent of his fairways in round one, and he struggled out of the rough.
"I thought the course played good. It was in good shape," said the American star. "Greens are soft, but it's going to be like that for the rest of the week, I feel like. You know, they still made it fairly difficult. You've got to hit the fairways. You've got to be precise when you're coming in with your irons.
"The fairways are plenty wide. If you miss it, you mis-hit it, it's not going to be on the fairway. You miss the fairway, you're really going to struggle."
Bellerive invited massive crowds on Thursday, with a number of featured groups stalking the fairways in both the morning and afternoon wave.
"We had big crowds out there. They were great," Johnson said. "It's a lot of fun to play for a big crowd. I felt like I had a lot of support."
24 de marzo 2019
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