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Johnson grabs first round lead in Texas


Zach Johnson grabbed a one shot lead after returning with 6-under 64 in the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Texas.

Johnson sunk four consecutive birdies from the 13th, which is particularly impressive when you take the blustery win conditions into account, on his way to a bogey-free 6-under total.

“Today was great,” Johnson said. “I struck the golf ball really nice, real solid, and I gave myself a lot of opportunities.

“I made some long putts but I missed some shorter ones. It probably evened out at the end. I just hit some quality shots. I’ve got zero complaints.”

Jason Dufner continued his fine form, after winning the Byron Nelson Championship last weekend. with a 65 to finish one shot behind Johnson and level with fellow Americans Tom Gillis, Kyle Reifers and rookie Harris English.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia saved par from greenside bunkers on his last two holes for a 66 to share sixth place with Americans Chris DiMarco and Tommy Gainey, and Argentina’s Andres Romero.

Johnson, who has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since he won here in 2010, set the tone for his round with a monster 40-foot birdie putt on his first hole of the round.

Dufner also had a strong start, launching his round with five birdies in his first eight holes.

“It was a nice round,” he said. “The winds were up a little bit this afternoon and that made it a little tougher to gauge distances and pick the right clubs.

“Obviously a couple of wins here in the last couple of events have boosted my confidence a little bit but I’ve felt really good about my game since about March.

“I’m on a good roll, playing a lot of good rounds, and I felt good coming into this week. I’m looking forward to the next three days here.”

Crowne Plaza Invitational First Round Leaderboard
Player Score
Zach Johnson -6
Harris English -5
Tom Gillis -5
Jason Dufner -5
Kyle Reifers -5
Chris DiMarco -4
Tommy Gainey -4
Sergio Garcia -4
Andres Romero -4
Brendon de Jonge -3