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Despite lackluster day with driver, Dustin Johnson near top of Masters leaderboard

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – There was no secret to Dustin Johnson’s 2020 Masters victory. His winning campaign was a ball-striking masterpiece, particularly off the tee with the eventual champion finishing 13th in the field in driving accuracy and sixth in driving distance.

Johnson is in a similar position after Day 1 at this year’s Masters following an opening 69 that left him just two shots off the lead, but it was a much different path to the top of the leaderboard.

“It was the wind. That's what made it tricky. It was real gusty. Sometimes, especially around here, it's really hard to get a beat on if you get a lot of crosswind,” said Johnson, who went straight to the practice range after 3-under 69 opening round that has him T-3. 

Full-field scores from the 86th Masters Tournament

He was 59th in the field in driving distance (283 yards) and 78th in driving accuracy (57 percent) on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club. It didn’t help Johnson’s mood that his poor performance off the tee included a handful of 3-wood tee shots.

“I hit a lot of 3-woods today because I wasn't real comfortable with the driver for some reason, which is unusual for me. Usually, it's the other way around,” he said. “I managed the game around very well, I just needed to keep it in play.”