Golf | Johnson sets early pace at Memorial

Washington – Dustin Johnson upstaged Jordan
Spieth and Jason Day on Thursday in the first round of the Memorial Tournament
where the 2015 US Open runner-up shot a first round eight-under 64.

The hard-hitting American rolled in 10
birdies for a one-stroke lead over Brendan Steele who is alone in second with a

World number one Day shot a six-under 66
with an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys while two-time major winner Spieth
shot a two-under 70 with five birdies.

Spieth was in a group with world number
three Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.

Johnson tallied a pair of twos on his
scorecard. He had one stretch of four straight birdies beginning at number 12
and two with three consecutive birdies.

His two bogeys came after he failed to get
up and down from beside the green.

“I felt like I played well right out
of the gates,” he said. “I hit it close on the first three holes and
made all of them, so that’s always a good way to start your day.”

Day, Hudson Swafford, Danny Lee, Matt
Kuchar and David Hearn each shot 66 as 79 players are under par following a day
with perfect scoring conditions.

Day, of Brisbane, had his best finish here
in 2009 when he tied for 27th.

“You just have to pick and choose when
you feel comfortable and when you don’t feel comfortable and try to attack the
course from there,” said Day, who plays the Muirfield Village course

“To be a Muirfield member and to play
as poorly as I have in the past is frustrating and disappointing. This is one
of the events you want to put on your resume.”

McIlroy shot a mixed bag 71 that included
three bogeys and a double bogey on the tricky par-three 16th hole.

He and Spieth teed off on the back nine.
Spieth made bogey on his final hole, the par-four ninth, after sailing his
second shot over the green and into a bunker. Thomas finished at five-over 77.

Spieth and McIlroy combined for 11 birdies
but were undone by mistakes. The worst part of McIlroy’s game was his putting,
including a three-putt from 13 feet.

“Six birdies is great, but the five
dropped shots was the rest of the story,” McIlroy said.

Leading scores after Thursday’s first round of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament at Dublin, Ohio (par 72, USA unless noted):

64 – Dustin Johnson

65 – Brendan Steele

66 – Hudson Swafford, Danny Lee (NZL), Matt Kuchar, Jason Day (AUS), David Hearn (CAN)

67 – Jason Bohn, Kevin Streelman, Luke Donald (ENG), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Ryan Ruffels (AUS)

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