Spurred by ace, Johnson rallies from difficult start
SANDWICH, England -- Through 13 holes of the British Open Thursday morning, Dustin's Johnson's golf matched the way he was feeling: not very good.
But the long-hitting American, bothered by a sore throat and swollen glands, rallied late at Royal St. George's, a hole-in-one at the 16th hole keying a comeback that brought him from four-over with five holes to play to an even-par 70. A bogey at the last spoiled an even better result.
"Standing on 14, I wanted to make a few birdies and give myself a chance to get back in this thing," Johnson said. "[But] if you would have bet me money that I would be one-under-par standing on the 18th tee, I would have taken it."
After birdies at 14 and 15, Johnson bounced a pitching wedge into the hole at No. 16, which was playing 161 yards. "It was not quite pin high, hopped past and then was hopping left as it probably went in," said fellow competitor Ian Poulter. "It was going in hard, but as Dustin said, 'I don't care. It's four inches under.' "
It was Johnson's third ace on tour -- he made his previous ones at Riviera and Colonial -- and the first by a competitor in an Open at Royal St. George's since 1981. Johnson tossed the ball to a spectator, added a birdie at 17 before making a 5 at No. 18, then looked forward to getting some rest.
"I'm not very excited at all," he said. "I'm going to go home and sleep. I'm a little bit under the weather. My glands are all swollen. I've got some kind of infection. I'm on some antibiotics, so hopefully it'll go away."
-- *Bill Fields *