Johnson struggles in windy conditions at Wells Fargo

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is trying to be the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2008 to win four consecutive tournaments.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is trying to be the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2008 to win four consecutive tournaments.PHOTO: REUTERS

WILMINGTON (North Carolina) • American Dustin Johnson was metaphorically bruised and battered by brutal windswept conditions at golf's Wells Fargo Championship on Friday, slipping five strokes from the lead in the weather-delayed second round in North Carolina.

Four weeks after being literally bruised by a fall that put him out of the Masters, the world No. 1 had to battle the elements at Eagle Point in Wilmington.

He dropped two strokes in 13 holes to end the day joint-46th at even par, within sight of the leaders but not completely assured of making the cut, which is likely to fall at one-over .

Johnson, back in action after five weeks off, is seeking to win in his fourth consecutive start. He was among 68 players unable to complete the round after morning thunderstorms delayed the start of play by three hours.

Irishman Seamus Power (71) and American Billy Hurley III (69) had the clubhouse lead at five-under 139, while Italian Francesco Molinari (11 holes) and American John Peterson (12) were also five under, one stroke ahead of a group including Spanish duo Jon Rahm (71) and Rafa Cabrera-Bello (71).

Power, a 30-year-old PGA Tour rookie, was asked whether he had played well in the wind.

"It was tough to judge the wind. It's swirling all over the place and it's awfully strong," he said.

"And greens like this that are firm and fast, you slightly get a gust the wrong way and all of a sudden you've missed the green in the wrong spot or you're 40-50 feet away and really struggling."

At the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico City, world No. 3 Ariya Jutanugarn had to go the distance to beat her elder sister Moriya, ranked 53rd in the world, 2-up in the second round on Friday.

Ariya, the 21-year-old who is seeded first in her bracket, never trailed her 22-year-old sister, but never stretched her lead beyond two holes in their first matchplay meeting as professionals.

Ariya will next play Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg, a 4&3 winner over American Brittany Lang.

As Ariya moved on, so did world No. 1 Lydia Ko, ensuring that her Thai rival cannot replace her atop the world rankings at this tournament. The New Zealander defeated American Jennifer Song 1-up.

She will next face South Korean Hur Mi Jung, who needed 20 holes to beat Norway's Suzann Pettersen.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP

StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 1am.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 07, 2017, with the headline 'Johnson struggles in windy conditions at Wells Fargo'. Print Edition | Subscribe