Dustin Johnson took the lead of the US Open on Friday, firing a three-under-par 67 at Shinnecock Hills for a four-shot lead as the only player under par after 36 punishing holes.
Shinnecock Hills presented a difficulty as Thursday’s wind gave way to mist with stretches of wind driven rain, followed by sunshine in the afternoon.
Johnson was more than equal to all of it, his two-round total of four-under 136 putting him four ahead of Americans Charley Hoffman and Scott Piercy.
“Dustin was in complete control of what he was doing,” said his playing partner Tiger Woods, who missed the cut in his first US Open since 2015 as he added a two-over 72 to his opening 78 for a 10-over total of 150.
“He’s hitting the ball so flush and so solid,” Woods said. “I know it’s windy. It’s blustery. It was raining early. But he’s hitting right through it.”
After two birdies in his first nine holes, Johnson made his only bogey of the day at the first, unable to get up and down for par from a greenside bunker.
But he would add two more birdies, including a 45-foot putt at the par-three seventh that took its time getting to the hole then teetered in to a massive roar from the crowd.
“That was a good one,” said Johnson, the 2016 US Open winner who watched it all the way. “I knew about halfway there it was on a really good line if it would just get to the hole – it dropped right in the front door.”
Hoffman put himself under par for the tournament when he rolled in a long bomb at the par-five 16th for the last of his three birdies. He kept the momentum with a par save at 17, but dropped a shot at 18 to cap a one-under par 69 that left him on even par 140 alongside Piercy.
Piercy, who shared the overnight lead with Johnson, England’s Ian Poulter and Russell Henley, carded a one-over 71 for his share of second.
Poulter trimmed Johnson’s lead to one with three birdies in the space of four holes on his inward run, keeping the momentum going with a par save from a tough lie below his feet in a bunker.
But Poulter made a triple-bogey seven at the par-four eighth – his penultimate hole – and bogeyed nine in a two-over 72 that dropped him into a tie for fourth with defending champion Brooks Koepka, England’s Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.
“Credit Super Sport”