The world No. 1 briefly took the lead Friday with three straight birdies on his closing nine, but he fell back into a share of the lead when he finished. Later in the afternoon, Jason Kokrak fired an 8-under 62 to lead by five strokes over Billy Horschel. DJ is in a group of six players one back.
“I felt like I did everything pretty well,” Johnson said after a second straight 3-under 67. “Missed a couple of short putts on 14 and then on one at the turn, but other than that it was pretty solid. Never really got in trouble and even on the last hole I hit a good tee shot, hit a good second shot, just the wind switched and came back in my face instead of help. So I came up just short. Kind of a goofy lie there.”
An early tee time usually means calmer conditions, but Johnson’s group teed off at 7:40 a.m. CT and still played through a strong breeze at the TPC Four Seasons.
“This morning, the first nine holes we played the wind was howling, really blowing hard like it was yesterday the whole day,” Johnson said. “But kind of laid back with six holes to go.”
That’s when Johnson rocketed up the leaderboard. After a 1-under 34 on his opening nine, Johnson stuck his tee shot on the par-3 fifth to 5 feet for birdie. He then rattled off birdies at Nos. 6 and 7 to take the lead at 7 under par before a bogey at the last.
“The game is still not quite as sharp as it was leading into Augusta, but it's getting there, it's getting close,” he said.