Johnson turns tables on Spieth while Woods slumps

Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:58pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson sounded an ominous warning to grand slam-chasing Jordan Spieth by outmuscling the youngster to power his way to the top of the leaderboard in the British Open first round on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Johnson gave an object lesson in big hitting as he bulldozed his way to a pacesetting seven-under-par 65 in becalmed early weather conditions at the iconic Fife links.

Sharing second place on 66 are fellow Americans Zach Johnson and Robert Streb, South African Retief Goosen, 1999 champion Paul Lawrie of Scotland, England's Danny Willett and Jason Day of Australia.

Spieth, bidding to add golf's oldest major to his wins at this year's U.S. Masters and U.S. Open, tucked in two strokes behind countryman and playing partner Dustin Johnson but is all too well aware of the size of the task that could lie ahead.

"If DJ keeps driving it the way he is I'm going to have to play my best golf to have a chance," the 21-year-old Texan told reporters at St Andrews.

"It's hard to argue with somebody who is splitting bunkers at about 380 yards and two-putting for birdie on five or six of the holes when there are only two par-fives on the course.

"I don't have that in the bag so I've got to make up for it with ball-striking."

While Johnson and Spieth were showing off their dazzling skills, former world number one and twice St Andrews champion Tiger Woods looked a pale imitation of his old self as he slumped to a sad four-over 76.   Continued...

Dustin Johnson of the U.S. hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 16, 2015.     REUTERS/Eddie Keogh