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Dustin Johnson on Friday after his tee shot on the 2nd hole at Los Angeles Country Club.
LOS ANGELES — Dustin Johnson birdied his next hole. He rebounded, though that also implies this:
He had bounced. And that he did.
On Friday at Los Angeles Country Club, during the U.S. Open second round, the two-time major winner started the par-4 2nd at six-under overall, two shots out of the lead. He ended the hole far, far worse. Johnson took eight strokes, and no one to that point had taken more on a hole all week.
As expected, it came with a potpourri of stinkers. The drive? That dropped into the left fairway bunker. Notably, a day earlier, during his first-round 64, Johnson hit only fairways; he was 13 for 13 in that category. On Friday, he missed his first two.
Stroke two on 2? It barely escaped, it went only 95 yards, and it sank deep into the left rough. He was in more trouble. Said analyst Arron Oberholser on the Peacock broadcast: “Ooh, this could be really problematic.”
Said analyst Morgan Pressel: “We’ve talked about it all the time — compounding your mistakes. You can’t do that in a U.S. Open. Everybody’s going to make mistakes. But you’ve got to recover.”
Stroke three on No. 2? At first, Johnson had trouble finding his ball. It then went only 60 yards, and it dropped into the red-penalty-marked barranca. He grimaced. Said Pressel on the broadcast: “He talked yesterday after his round about his key to his good play being driving. He was driving the ball in play. And he has found himself in trouble on these first two holes. And now you can see what happens. Yes, there’s birdies, but there’s also disaster lurking.”
Stroke four on 4? It was a penalty stroke, and Johnson took his drop behind the barranca.
Stroke 5? It flew the green, from 57 yards away. DJ slouched. This was bad, too. Said Oberholser on the broadcast: “Oh no.” Said announcer Steve Sands: “Uh oh.” Said Oberholser: “Oh no. That’s dead.”
Said Pressel: “It’s so rare that you see such a talented player make this many mistakes consecutively. It’s almost speechless to see him misjudge that so poorly. That’s the only place you can’t be is long.”
Stroke 6? From 37 feet away, DJ pitched on, but there was little he could do. The green sloped down and left to right. It was touchy, and Johnson chipped to the fringe, but it rolled 28 feet past the hole. In frustration, he flipped his hand up. Said Pressel on the broadcast: “Just trying to drip something off the fringe. That was about as good as he could do right there. Just seeing his hand movement — that’s all I can do; that’s all I got. But that’s where the mistake is — compounding your errors when you’re in this high-pressure environment, you mentally just lose it for a moment and make these poor decisions.”
Stroke 7 and 8? Those were his putts. He quadruple-bogeyed. That’s an eight. A snowman. As first pointed out by Pressel on the broadcast, only two players on Thursday had more than a double bogey; amateur Branden Valdes also recorded a quad, but it came on the par-3 4th, and Aldrich Potgieter tripled the par-4 16th. At that point, Johnson dropped to two-under and six shots out of the lead. Said Pressel: “These were mental errors for DJ that led to a snowman.”
But he bounced back.
On his next hole, the par-4 3rd, DJ birdied.
Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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