Johnson, List share lead at Canadian Open
OAKVILLE, Ontario — Dustin Johnson made a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole Thursday for a 6-under 66 and a share of the Canadian Open lead with Luke List.
“My game feels good,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in it. I feel like I’m swinging really well. I felt like I rolled the ball really nicely with the putter today. I’m definitely driving the ball nicely. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the driver. I feel like I can hit it in the fairway.”
The U.S. Open champion set up the eagle with a 364-yard drive and 150-yard approach. In windy conditions at sun-baked Glen Abbey, he also had seven birdies and drove into the water on the par-4 14th en route to a double bogey.
“I drove it in the fairway a bunch. That was definitely very helpful,” Johnson said. “The conditions were tough. The wind was blowing pretty hard. I felt like I played really well. I just made one bad swing on 14, just didn’t quite commit to the shot I was hitting. Then I got a little unlucky for it to go in the water there. But other than that, I thought I played really, really nicely all day long.”
He played the three back-nine par-5 holes in 4 under.
“I like this golf course,” said Johnson, ranked second in the world. “I think it sets up well for me. I like it off the tee. The conditions are really tough right now. The greens are really firm, but they are rolling really nicely. So if you get some good looks at it, you can hole some putts.”
List birdied all four par 5s in a round he closed with seven pars.
“I was happy with that,” List said, “With my length, I tried to get it in play off the tee and have a smart iron into the par 5s. If I can play them 4 under every day all week, that would be great. … The rough is down this year, which makes for if you’re hitting your driver relatively straight, you can take advantage of it and get some wedges out there.”
Canadian amateur Jared du Toit was a stroke back along with former Arizona State teammate Jon Rahm, Chesson Hadley and Kelly Kraft. Coming off his junior season for the Sun Devils, du Toit holed out with an 8-iron for eagle on the par-4 17th and birdied 18.
“I was pretty disappointed with myself for not birdieing 16 and followed it up with a very poor drive on 17,” said du Toit, from Kimberley, British Columbia. “But then had a good number. Caddie gave me a good yardage. Just had to hit a good one shot. Came out just how I wanted. I didn’t even know it went in.”
He was popular with the home fans.
“Well, it’s the first time I’ve had to sign autographs after rounds,” du Toit said. “That was awesome. Definitely a lot of fun. It’s definitely in the top three kind of rounds I’ve played my career, just kind of feeling-wise and atmosphere.”
Brandt Snedeker, the 2013 winner at Glen Abbey, had a 68 to match Brendon de Jonge, Steve Wheatcroft and Cameron Tringale.
“I made some key putts through the course of the round,” Snedeker said. “Didn’t drive it great today, but kind of used my head around the golf course, leave it in the right spots. Greens are so firm, you’ve just got to get it on the green somewhere.”
Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day was in the group at 69.
“If you miss the fairway, you’re pretty much done, there’s no chance of keeping it on the green,” Day said. “My mentality is just trying to get it up there as far as I can. As long I can just keep driving it straight, try to get up there somewhere around the green, if I miss it then I’ve got a wedge in my hand and hopefully I can hit it high and get it stuck on the green.”
Garrett Rank, the Canadian amateur who works as a professional hockey referee, also opened with a 69.