Johnson a stroke behind leaders

LOS ANGELES • Dustin Johnson offered a reminder that he is still the world No. 1 as he moved within one stroke of second-round leaders Marc Leishman and Brian Harman at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Friday.

Johnson recovered from a slow start to run up seven birdies for a five-under 68 on the Kapalua Plantation course on the island of Maui.

He was deprived of a share of the lead only when Leishman (69) and Harman (68) both birdied the 663-yard, par-five 18th for a 10-under 136 total.

"I got off to a rough start, bogeyed three and four from the middle of the fairway," said 2013 champion Johnson.

"I was hitting some good shots, just didn't score very well.

"Birdies at the sixth, eighth and ninth holes got me back in the rhythm and played a really solid back nine."

Johnson has not made many headlines since a fall on tournament eve knocked him out of the Masters last April, a tournament he would have started as hot favourite coming off three consecutive wins.

But the American has done enough to stay atop the world rankings for close to a year.

Co-leader Leishman is coming off a two-win season, and the 34-year-old has his eye on even bigger and better things.

"It was tough, I'm really happy with four birdies, no bogeys," the Australian said. "You play to win.

"Having a year like I had last year, confidence is high. I feel like when I'm in this position I need to finish it off, but there's still a lot of golf to play."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 07, 2018, with the headline 'Johnson a stroke behind leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe