Johnson was one of three players to go out in 31 and, unlike the other quick starters, he maintained that advantage on an increasingly difficult closing loop to finish at 5-under 66 for the early lead.
“The game demands resilience,” Johnson said when asked about the Deere heartbreak. “I felt great about last week. What I embraced is that I played great.”
That he also seemed to figure out the mysteries of links golf last year at Lytham also gave Johnson confidence. At the 2012 Open Championship, Johnson began his week with a similar 65 and finished tied for ninth.