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Johnson starts strong in home-state Palmetto Championship

Dustin Johnson were given off to a quick get started Thursday at Congaree in his home-state Palmetto Championship, taking pictures a 6-under 65 that left him a shot at the back of chief Wes Roach.

Johnson, the arena’s top-ranked participant and a South Carolina local, hadn’t performed since lacking the lower the final time he teed it up within the Palmetto State on the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island final month.

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Johnson gave the impression he would possibly hang a percentage of the lead sooner than Roach, a 32-year-old in the hunt for his first PGA Excursion victory, rolled in a 19-footer for a go-ahead birdie at the 16th gap.

Nonetheless, Johnson had a easy, bogey-free spherical within the box’s first check out on the Congaree Golfing Membership because the substitute event for the canceled RBC Canadian Open, known as off a 2d instantly season because of COVID-19 considerations.

Roach, splitting time at the PGA and Korn Ferry excursions this season, shot his lowest PGA Excursion spherical since November 2019. He used to be a stroke in entrance of Johnson, Document Redman, Chesson Hadley and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen.

Roach eagled the par-Five fourth, holing out from 105 yards at the 633-yard gap.

Johnson used to be headed within the flawed course on the Ocean Path 3 weeks in the past, lacking a big lower for the second one time in as many months. But when any individual doubted his readiness for subsequent week’s U.S. Open, Johnson simply brushed that apart along with his stellar play over the company fairways and curvy vegetables on the Four-year-old Tom Fazio direction.

At Congaree, he had 4 birdies in a seven-hole stretch, all on putts 10 ft or much less together with a two-putt birdie at the drivable, 370-yard 3rd. Johnson chipped in from 82 feet away for his ultimate birdie on No. nine to tie Redman for the lead a number of the morning starters.

Johnson used to be handiest considering of a par save when he hit the shot and used to be delighted — neatly, about as delighted because the cool, calm Johnson can get — when it disappeared within the cup for his lowest spherical since taking pictures 65 in the second one spherical of the Match of Champions final January.

“I felt like I’ve been swinging neatly for some time now, simply have not truly observed the effects or observed the ratings,” Johnson mentioned. “Made a couple of putts, however yeah, I imply simply enjoying forged. In any case put a spherical in combination.”

Redman used to be the primary to succeed in 6 below with a run of 4 birdies over 5 holes on his again 9.

Hadley’s method on his next-to-last gap, the 8th, used to be 2 ft from the cup for his tying birdie.

Van Rooyen used to be at 7 below via 14 holes. He made bogey at the 6th gap to fall again.

Van Rooyen adopted up his a success U.S. Open qualifying in Ohio previous this week with a robust appearing at Congaree. He had overlooked his final 4 cuts together with the PGA Championship. He spent the previous 3 weeks occupied with his efficiency and dealing his recreation. van Rooyen like what he noticed Thursday.

“I believe I am simply kind of going ahead,” he mentioned.

Brooks Koepka, enjoying for the primary time since completing 2d to Phil Mickelson on the PGA Championship, opened with a 72 and used to be seven pictures at the back of the leaders. Koepka is the one different top-10 participant on this box, the final sooner than the season’s 3rd primary.

Koepka’s get started wasn’t a just right signal: the final 4 occasions he started a event over-par, he went directly to omit the lower.

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A little while after Johnson completed, he used to be awarded the Order of the Palmetto from Gov. Henry McMaster at the membership grounds.

“It is a special occasion for me and my circle of relatives,” Johnson mentioned of the state’s very best honor for a civilian. “I have all the time been a proud South Carolinian and I all the time might be.”

Johnson mentioned he used to be boosted by way of the robust crowd following him, no longer simply right here however on the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head and the PGA Championship this season.

“I am getting a large number of fortify right here in South Carolina, being a South Carolina local,” he mentioned. “And, yeah, it is been nice” to play such a lot there.

“With a bit of luck, I will stay it rolling for the remainder of the week,” he mentioned.

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