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Johnson makes a crazy eight at the U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson - The Canadian Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dustin Johnson's summary of the quadruple bogey he made that could be the difference between winning and losing the U.S. Open was succinct, matter-of-fact and, of course, ugly.

“Chunked my bunker shot and then chunked the next one. Skulled the next one,” he said. “Everything that you could do wrong, I did wrong.”

That 8 he took on the second hole Friday was as bad as it gets. The 4-under par he shot over the next 16 holes was a reason he could smile at least a little.

Even with the snowman, Johnson shot an even-par 70 and finished the day at 6-under 134. When the second round concluded, he was tied for sixth, four shots behind Rickie Fowler and grateful he didn't let the four shots he lost on one single hole completely wreck his day.

“I just tried to focus on, there were a lot of holes left,” Johnson said. “You just don't try to push it. You know this course is tough, but if you can drive it in the fairway, be aggressive when you can, you can have some shots at birdie.”

Johnson made five of them, to be exact, and in what might be viewed as a promising sign, three of those came on the back nine, which was playing nearly 1.3 shots harder with virtually all the rounds completed at Los Angeles Country Club.

The rally in its entirety is a sign, to Johnson, that his swing is coming around after a less-than-ideal start to his major season. He tied for 48th at the Masters and 55th at the PGA Championship, sandwiching those results around a LIV Golf Series victory in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He is seeking his second U.S. Open title and his third major, though Johnson is one of those players who might be known as much for the ones that got away as those he won. His close calls have included big, crooked numbers and ugly, memorable episodes.

In the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, it was grounding his club in a bunker he didn't know was a bunker on the 72nd hole that cost him a spot in a playoff.

Months earlier in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he came into the final round with a three-shot lead, only to watch it sail into the Pacific with a triple bogey on 2 and a double on 3.

A 2-iron out of bounds on the 14th hole in the final round of the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George's dropped him out of contention after trailing by two.

His three-putt from 12 feet at Chambers Bay on the 72nd hole cost him the U.S. Open title — or at least a chance to play Jordan Spieth in a playoff — in 2015.

Johnson won the U.S. Open the following year at Oakmont, then added his second major at the Masters in 2020.

That this crooked number from Johnson came on a Friday, not a Sunday, was good news simply because there's plenty of time to make it up. If he ends up falling a shot or two short, though, he'll remember one hole.

It started when he pulled his tee shot on the 497-yard second, leaving it in a bunker on the left side. He had an uphill lie there and didn't make clean contact, leaving himself a 100-yard shot out of deep rough, over the barranca and onto the green.

He made poor contact there and hit it into the junk. His drop for shot No. 5 was into a clean lie in the fairway, but Johnson caught it thin, and the ball landed in tangled rough behind the green. One chip and two putts later, he had gone from 6 under to 2 under.

Johnson called “skulling a chip shot” the worst shot of that forgettable collection.

His best shot of the day?

“Hitting a good shot and just getting settled back down after making an 8,” Johnson explained. “Definitely wasn’t too thrilled with myself walking off that green.”

He made a birdie on No. 3 after that good drive, then four more as the day went on.

“I really feel like I’m swinging it really well, driving it good,” he said, “so looking forward to this weekend.”


AP golf: and