Nov 13: Dustin Johnson, who has finished in the Top-10 in each of his last four starts at the Masters in Augusta, moved into shared lead as the first round ended on Friday morning. Johnson completed his unfinished first round at 7-under to join Paul Casey, who finished with a 65 on Thursday, and Dylan Fritelli did the same on Friday morning in Augusta, Georgia.
Johnson, who began his second round soon after added three more birdies in his first three holes in the second round to reach double figures at 10-under and three clear of Cameron Champ, who after his first round 67 added two more birdies to get to 7-under.
At the end of the first round, three players were tied at the top with 65 each, while Sungjae Im and Justin Thomas shot 66 each.
Cameron Smith, Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele carded 67 each, while Tiger Woods completed his opening round on Thursday itself with 68. Veteran 50-year-old Phil Mickelson brought home a round of 69.
Woods will begin his second round later in the afternoon. Woods had a bogey free first round, his first error-free first round at Augusta, as he seeks a sixth Green Jacket and a 16th Major. With his own tournament, the Hero World Challenge put off to 2021, this will likely be Wood’s finally appearance in 2020.
Johnson, when asked about a quick turnaround after the first round, said, “Well, it is nice. I feel like I’m on a good roll here. I’m feeling good with the golf swing. To continue to play is definitely a nice advantage. Obviously, we know how the golf course is playing. We’ve already played nine holes this morning, and just to turn around and go right back out I think is an advantage, and we’re going to finish our round today, so yeah, I definitely think it is an advantage.”
Johnson who had miss the 2017 Masters due to a freak injury in barely two days before the start, was T6 in 2015, T-4 in 2016 and T-10 in 2018 and T-2 last year when Woods won the Green Jacket. Johnson has just one Major – the 2016 US Open – but has been second or T-2 five times, including three times in the last 19 months since the last Masters.
If Johnson wins the Masters, he will be the first World No. 1 to do since Woods did it in 2002.
Fritelli, playing only his second Masters, has never finished better than T-31 in a Major, and that came at the 2018 PGA Championship. He finished at 65 and when asked about a quick turnaround to second round, said, “I definitely think it’s an advantage because I’m playing well right now, so I’m just going to keep the balls rolling. I’ll probably just head to the locker room, have some food and then rush out back to the first tee and play that nine again.”
He added, “I putted well. I think those few putts I made I drove it nice and long but it wasn’t tremendously straight. Hopefully I can tighten that up and post some more birdies.”
It has been a low scoring tournament so far with 53 sub-par scores in the first round, including 24 scores in the 60s.