Dustin Johnson: 'No Additional Pressure' as Masters Defending Champ After Round 1 74

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 8, 2021

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 08: Dustin Johnson of the United States reacts to a putt on the second green during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 08, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Defending Masters champion Dustin Johnson's return to Augusta National Golf Club did not start well as he shot a two-over 74 in the first round on Thursday.

Johnson, who shot a tournament-record 20-under last November, isn't feeling any pressure as the reigning Masters winner.

"No additional pressure,'' Johnson said, per ESPN's Bob Harig. "If anything, I'm a little more relaxed out there. Today, it just played tough.''

Johnson shot one-under through 15 holes, but a bogey on the 16th and a double bogey on the 18th put him at two-over going into Friday.

Johnson is generally in good spirits, though, as he moves onto Round 2.

"I felt like I played pretty well, too,'' Johnson told reporters.

"Got it around pretty well. Obviously, the last hole kind of stings a little bit. But go to the range, hit a few plays. I feeling like I'm swinging well, playing good. Looking forward to the rest of the week.''

Nothing went right on the last hole. Johnson's tee shot found the pine straw to the right of the fairway, and he didn't have an angle to the hole.

His second shot then landed 39 yards from the green. A third shot left him with a 35-footer for par, but a three-putt left him with a double bogey.

Still, Johnson played very well through 15 holes, and if he finished under-par, he would have joined just 11 others who did so on a day that featured tough scoring conditions.

Justin Rose leads the tournament at seven-under, and Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman sit at three-under in second place.