Johnson makes perfect start to US Open assault

Ross McLean
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World No7 Johnson carded 65 in round one
AMERICAN Dustin Johnson produced an eye-catching opening round as his quest to land a first Major title started in impressive fashion on day one of the US Open at Chambers Bay yesterday.

World No7 Johnson, who earlier this year returned from a six-month leave of absence from golf, carded a five-under-par round of 65, which included seven birdies and two late bogeys, for the early clubhouse lead.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who had earlier this week branded the Chambers Bay course - staging its first Major - “dangerous” after his caddie was hospitalised during practice, matched Johnson’s five-under standard.

Patrick Reed flirted with the lead at four under, a score he finished the day on, while fellow American Matt Kuchar carded three under. Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Marc Warren of Scotland were among those to shoot two-under 68s.

Five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson stormed to the top of the leaderboard early in proceedings before bogeys at the 10th, 13th and 14th holes dented his bid to secure a career grand slam.

The 45-year-old triple-Masters winner has finished runner-up at the US Open a record six times but remains well placed for an assault to end that curse after finishing the first round one under par.

Joining Mickelson on one-under were evergreen Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and the much-fancied Brandt Snedeker, as well as veteran Colin Montgomerie, who had been critical of the greens at Chambers Bar.

Montgomerie is playing his first US Open since 2008, having qualified by winning the US Senior Open last year, but the Scot found himself among the early leaders after a round containing four birdies. English triumvirate John Parry, Andy Sullivan and Luke Donald and world No1 Rory McIlroy, who with 268 shots recorded the lowest four-round US Open score at Congressional in 2011, all carded a two-over-par 72.