Dustin Johnson Improves with 2-Under Round 2 in 2021 Players Championship

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2021

Dustin Johnson chips to the green on the ninth hole during the first round of the The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

A late double bogey halted Dustin Johnson's surge up The Players Championship leaderboard Friday as he posted a two-under 70 in the second round at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Johnson, who started on the back nine, recorded four birdies through his first seven holes after opening the day at one-over. After moving inside the top 10 following the red-hot start, he was two-over on the front nine to walk off the course in a tie for 33rd with Round 2 ongoing. 

The 2020 Masters champion only has one top-10 finish in the Players across 11 career starts.

Johnson was hopeful the driving problems that popped up last month, starting late in the Genesis Invitational and continuing at the Workday Championship, were solved when he arrived at TPC Sawgrass.

"Ball position was getting a little too far back, which causes me to hit it both ways," he told reporters Tuesday. "It takes a little bit to work on that, but I fixed it and feel pretty good over the driver now."

The progress was evident as he hit 64.3 percent of fairways during the first round, but he couldn't match that performance Friday, as that fairway number dropped to 42.9 percent.

He was able to make up for some of that poor play off the tee with otherwise strong play—he hit 77.8 percent of greens and gained 2.1 strokes with his putter—came within three holes of finishing the day within serious striking distance of the leaders.


DJ from deep. 🕳 He’s 4-under thru 7 today. 👀 #QuickHits https://t.co/Fhd6IUZn2w

Johnson's tee shot at the seventh found the water, however, and he missed a 10-foot putt for bogey that would have limited the damage.

He also failed to take advantage of the par-five ninth, his final hole of the day, as his tee ball landed in the rough and he missed a six-foot attempt for birdie.

His 70 was still three shots better than his score in the first round and it helped move him off the cut line.

Johnson will try to put together a more sustainable charge Saturday to at least give himself a puncher's chance heading into the final round.