At the LIV Golf Chicago event on Friday, Dustin Johnson picked up where he left off a few weeks ago at the LIV Golf Boston event, where he claimed his first title. Shot in the first round of 63, DJ has a three-punch lead over Cam Smith ahead of the second round on Saturday. He also helped his team, the 4 Aces, to a total of 11 points short, which puts them in line for a fourth consecutive team victory.
Johnson, who started on the first hole on Thursday, was out on 30 and missed just one or two shots in five hours of play in the first round. pleased with his performance despite playing only 1 under par for the last six holes.
“Obviously I hit the ball really well… it was really hard all day,” Johnson said. “Hit very close. I didn’t have many long shots, but I hit a lot of shots from 10 feet. Today I hit very, very well.”
When the DJ gets hot, he does it. He has a tendency to wreck multiple events in a row, no matter where he plays or who he plays against. This was most notably in 2017, when he won three straight tournaments leading up to the Masters before pulling out of the year’s first Major with an injury. After Friday’s round, he was asked how he maintains such a high level of play despite playing less competitive golf than he ever has in his life (Johnson has only played six times since the PGA championship in May).
“Right now, I feel like I have a good rhythm,” he said. “For me, as long as I hit a couple of balls every other day, I can keep it there. Right now, I’m just really good at rocking. Fortunately, I continue.”
In addition to Johnson’s count, 4 aces also counted Talor Gooch’s number 2 under and led the Punch GC team to count -6 Cam Smith and -4 Matt Jones – with one punch in the second round.
And if Johnson is now the most popular player in the LIV, it was Smith who was the best player in the LIV all year, although mainly on the PGA Tour and in major championships. After winning the Tournament of Champions, Players Championship and Open Championship at the Old Course in July, Smith moved to LIV Golf and finished in T4 at his first tournament in Boston behind DJ and two other players.
Although Smith doesn’t have the beautiful game that Johnson has when it comes to hitting the ball, he was the top scorer throughout the year. Whether that’s enough to overcome the 3-hit deficit and the ball machine punch that the DJ has been showing off lately remains to be seen, but Smith has the Punch GC team to complete the mini-run that 4 aces have. was and took his first win since the PGA Tour at Rich Harvest Farms this weekend.
No matter what you think of the LIV, the PGA Tour, or the ongoing feud between the two, we can all agree that a Smith-Johnson weekend fight would be amazing. The towering, light play of a two-time major champion in Johnson versus the greatest living dog-talking player in Smith. A battle for the ages in the fifth LIV event of the year? Probably not, but golf should still be great.
1. Dustin Johnson: -9
2. Cam Smith: -6
3. Matthew Wolf: -5
T4. Charles Howell III: -4
T4. Matt Jones: -4
T4. Henrik Stenson: -4
T4. Lee Westwood: -4