Dustin Johnson edges ahead at halfway in The Northern Trust | Golf News


Last Updated: 10/08/19 12:35am










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Dustin Johnson was pleased with his distance control as he moved into the halfway lead at The Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson was pleased with his distance control as he moved into the halfway lead at The Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson carded a four-under 67 to take a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of The Northern Trust at Liberty National.

The world No 2 produced an excellent display of iron play as he moved to 12-under 130, with a birdie at the last taking him one ahead of Jordan Spieth.

Johnson, who was one off the lead overnight after opening with a 63, made his only bogey of the day at the first but bounced back with birdies at the third and fourth.

He missed out on several other birdie opportunities with a number of putts going close, but still finished strongly as he eased to the top of the leaderboard with gains at the 13th, 15th and 18th.

Johnson took the outright lead with a birdie at the last

Johnson took the outright lead with a birdie at the last

Johnson is chasing his third win in the event, after victories in 2011 and 2017 at different venues, and his fifth success in the FedExCup Play-Offs.

“I feel like I’m swinging it really well,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of control with the golf ball and hitting a lot of really nice shots and rolled in a couple of putts today which is nice, but still feel like I left quite a few out there.

“I’m in a good position heading into the weekend, and if I can keep swinging the way I am, I think it’s going to be a good weekend.”

Spieth, the 2015 FedExCup champion, had set the early clubhouse target with a seven-under 64, which included eight birdies and one bogey, his only one of the tournament so far.

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Jordan Spieth was ‘very pleased’ with his 64 in the second round of The Northern Trust which included a sensational birdie at the ninth

Jordan Spieth was ‘very pleased’ with his 64 in the second round of The Northern Trust which included a sensational birdie at the ninth

The highlight of Spieth’s round came at the par-four ninth, his final hole, which he birdied after playing his second shot around trees from the right rough and then holing a lengthy putt.

Troy Merritt failed to match his first-round 62 as he posted a one-under 70, which included a double-bogey at the 15th shortly before play was suspended for around 30 minutes due to a nearby storm.

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Troy Merritt enjoyed a birdie bonus at The Northern Trust when a gust of wind blew his ball back into the hole

Troy Merritt enjoyed a birdie bonus at The Northern Trust when a gust of wind blew his ball back into the hole

At 10 under, he shares third place with Patrick Reed, who fired a second consecutive bogey-free 66, Spain’s Jon Rahm (68) and Abraham Ancer of Mexico (65).

Jon Rahm shares third place on 10 under

Jon Rahm shares third place on 10 under

Justin Rose, the reigning FedExCup champion, is handily placed on nine under following a 68, with his fellow Englishman Ian Poulter only one shot further back thanks to a 66.

Rory McIlroy is also on nine under after a three-under 68 which was only confirmed after he had completed his round.

The Northern Irishman was initially marked down with a double-bogey at the 14th after appearing to be given a two-shot penalty for touching sand in a greenside bunker, but it was later confirmed that he had not been penalised as he did not improve his lie.

Open champion Shane Lowry made some stealthy progress up the leaderboard as he followed his opening 69 with a 67 to sit on six under.

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World No 1 Brooks Koepka once again failed to fire as he added a 69 to his opening 70 which left him nine off the pace on three under.

With the cut coming at one under, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele were among those to miss out by one shot, while the likes of Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia will also have the weekend off.

Tiger Woods withdrew before the start of his second round due to a “mild oblique strain”.

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