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Johnson struggles as Augusta bites back

By Andrew Both

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Dustin Johnson knew this week’s Masters, back in its conventional spot on the calendar, could be more difficult than his record-setting triumph final November however on Thursday he endured fairly a actuality verify in windy and quick situations at Augusta National.

The world primary acquired as low as one beneath par throughout the first spherical on the 12 months’s first main however made bogey on the par-three sixteenth and double-bogey on the par-four 18th which left him at two-over-par 74.

The situations had been in stark distinction to final 12 months when Johnson took full benefit of a delicate format with blistered drives, laser-like approaches and stable placing en path to a 20-under-par 268 complete that was the bottom in Masters historical past.

“The conditions are definitely different,” Johnson stated after his first over-par spherical at Augusta National since 2018. “The course is a little bit firmer and faster. But it’s still the same golf course.

“Playing positively quite a bit more durable simply because, when the greens are agency and quick right here, the golf course performs troublesome. Then you add the wind in immediately, it made it play actually troublesome.”

Johnson said the conditions were not the only factor in his sluggish start as he admitted his game is not as sharp as it was in November and that he needed to dial in his irons a bit.

The two-times major champion also said he does not feel any added pressure this week as he tries to put himself in elite company as only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have won back-to-back Masters titles.

“If something, I’m just a little extra relaxed on the market,” said Johnson. “Today, like I stated, it simply performed powerful. I felt like I performed fairly nicely too, or acquired it round fairly nicely.

“Obviously, the last hole kind of stings a little bit. But go to the range, hit a few balls. I feel like I’m swinging well, playing good. Looking forward to the rest of the week.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto, enhancing by Ed Osmond)

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