DUBLIN, Ohio – Dustin Johnson had a decidedly un-Dustin-like day Thursday at the Memorial.
The world No. 1 recorded his worst score in over a year, a 6-over 78 that has him in danger of missing the cut at Muirfield. The birdie-free round marked his worst score in 452 days, dating back to a final-round 79 at Doral last March.
During a mostly steady round, Johnson carded 15 pars, but he made two big mistakes that blew up his score. After six straight pars to start his day, Johnson found the water at the par-3 16th and then three-putted for a triple-bogey. Another three-putt at the par-4 sixth resulted in a double.
Perhaps no hole better encapsulated the story of his round than the par-4 17th. After the triple at 16, Johnson ripped his drive an official 413 yards, but was unable to stop his short, uphill second shot near the front pin and had to settle for a two-putt par.
“The way he drives the ball, he’s able to take advantage of a lot of holes,” Johnson’s playing partner, Phil Mickelson, said. “He had a few putts early on that lipped out that should have gone in. … It kind of wore on him until he had the one big mistake on 16 and that was a tough thing.
“But he drove it down there 425 yards on 17, right down the middle of the fairway, had a flip wedge in, and yet didn’t really have much of a shot where the pin was and so forth. So he had a few times where he hit great shots but wasn’t really rewarded.”
Johnson has missed just one cut in nine official stroke play events this year. Since departing early from Torrey Pines, he’s finished no worse than T-13.