Dave Tindall

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The Roundup: DJ on song

Friday, June 8, 2018

Recap of the day


Morning wave: After a rather wobbly opening with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13, back-nine starter Dustin Johnson really put his foot on the gas to deliver a seven-under 63. The real spurt took place on his second nine as the 2012 winner followed a hole-out eagle from 111 yards at the 1st with birdies at the next two holes. A walk-off birdie at No. 9 set the clubhouse target of 10-under 130. Fellow early starters Ryan Blaum and Andew Putnam came in with 64s to finish one back at 9-under.


Afternoon wave: DJ’s clubhouse target came under threat from C.T. Pan, who birdied 15, 16 and 17 to pull within a shot but five swishes at 18 left him a shot back after a 65. Wesley Bryan joined him on 8-under after a second 66. Not much was happening in the PM wave as the course played tougher in the afternoon for the second straight day. After 36 holes, the AM/PM wave averaged 141.13 (70.42 & 70.71) while the PM/AM wave averaged 141.34 (71.01 & 70.33). Unlike last week at the Memorial, we see a pretty dead-even draw this week. 


Leaderboard: -10 Dustin Johnson, -9 Ryan Blaum, Andrew Putnam, -8 C.T. Pan, Wesley Bryan, -7 Brandt Snedeker.


Missed Cut: +1 Daniel Berger (defending champ x2), Tony Finau, Byeong Hun An; +2 Joaquin Niemann; +3 Tom Hoge, Joel Dahmen; +5 Kiradech Aphibarnrat; +6 Harris English; +7 Ben Crane; +11 Kevin Chappell


Revised betting: 5/6 Dustin Johnson, 12/1 Andrew Putnam, 14/1 Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka, 16/1 C.T. Pan.



Saturday weather forecast


Same again. Lots of sunshine, a bit of cloud and very little wind although a tad stronger in the early afternoon.



Top 3 after 36 holes – how they performed


Dustin Johnson 63, 130 – Came home in 29 to surge into the lead on 10-under and match the 63 he shot here in R4 last year.


Ryan Blaum 64, 131 – Has only hit half the fairways but the putter is hot (5th for SGP when he signed his card). Nailed five putts from outside 10 feet today.


Andrew Putnam 64, 131 – Just a single bogey so far this week. Split 11 fairways today and hit 14 greens in regulation after 17 yesterday  



Fate of the favorites


Dustin Johnson 63, 130 – Ranked 1st in SG: Tee-To-Green (9.60 shots on the field) and SG: Off-The-Tee when he strolled off for some lunch.


Brooks Koepka 69, 135 – A frustrating day for the U.S. Open champ. Made just two birdies and lost nearly a shot on SG: Approach.


Henrik Stenson 71, 139 – Three bogeys against two birdies. Horrid on the greens and ranks 152nd in SG: Putting at the midpoint, losing nearly four strokes today.


Phil Mickelson 70, 136 – Five bogeys not great prep for U.S. Open. 10th in SG: Putting so far this week but approach play was loose today.





Dustin Johnson (63): “I knew I was swinging well, hit a lot of great shots and had a lot of good looks at birdies. I really like this golf course. You’ve got to focus on every shot, you can’t really let up. You’ve got to hit the fairway because it’s a difficult golf course to play from the rough so I like it. It sets up well for me.”



Road to victory at TPC Southwind


2017 – Daniel Berger R1: 48th, R2: 34th, R3: 9th

2016 – Daniel Berger R1: 10th, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

2015 – Fabian Gomez R1: 8th, R2: 4th, R3: 1st

2014 – Ben Crane R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

2013 – Harris English R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd


Notes: Recent winners have been well positioned at halfway. In fact, three of the last five have been at the very top. That includes Daniel Berger in 2016 although he did it in very different fashion last year when outside the top 30 going into the weekend and seven off the pace. A pair of 66s on the weekend got him over the line in front again.



Fate of the 36-hole leaders


2017 – Charl Schwartzel – 2nd, Chez Reavie – 4th, Sebastian Munoz – 60th

2016 – Daniel Berger – 1st

2015 – Brooks Koepka – 3rd

2014 – Ben Crane – 1st

2013 – Harris English – 1st


Notes: Hit the front at halfway and it’s good news. Starting from 2009 when Brian Gay went wire-to-wire, a leader/joint-leader has gone on to win six times. Another four have made the top four while the only player to finish outside the top seven during that time period was Sebastian Munoz last year.



Focus on – Dustin Johnson


DJ should have won two of the last three U.S. Opens. A three-putt at the last cost him victory at Chambers Bay before he finally got the major monkey off his back with a brilliant win at Oakmont. Going further back there was another obvious lost opportunity in 2010 when he held a three-shot lead at Pebble Beach after 54 holes before shooting an 82 while he also took T4 at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014 although no-one was catching eight-shot winner Martin Kaymer that year. So, does Johnson tip us the wink ahead of his big showings in the U.S. Open? Here’s his form leading in:


2017 – MC Erin Hills – DNP, MC Memorial

2016 – WON Oakmont – T5 St. Jude Classic

2015 – 2nd Chambers Bay – DNP, T13 Memorial

2014 – T4 Pinehurst – T24 St. Jude Classic

2013 – 55 Merion – T10 St. Jude Classic

2012 – MC Olympic Club – WON St. Jude Classic


A top five at the 2016 St. Jude helped set him up for victory at Oakmont but the correlation becomes fuzzy overall with some strong performances at TPC Southwind proving no guide at all. A positive spin is that on the two occasions he’s played this event in the last four years, he had excellent U.S. Opens the week after. He's on track for another win here this week after taking the halfway lead and that can only be seen as a big plus as he looks to win his national Open for the second time.



Focus on – Shot Clock

Yesterday, we mentioned the European Tour’s Shot Clock Open in Austria this week where the average round was played an hour quicker than normal due to players having a maximum of 50 seconds to hit. The event has caught the attention of plenty in the golf world, including Billy Horschel. The 2014 FedEx Cup winner tweeted: “Loving this shot clock deal on the @EuropeanTour. Amazing how fast rounds go when players play within the rules. And guys are still playing great golf. Shocking!! ...wish we had something like this on the @PGATOUR." Horschel’s tweet currently has over 2,000 likes. Replying to a response asking why it should need a shot clock to quicken play up, Horschel replied: “First, rules aren’t enforced. Simple as that. If they were, guys would play quicker afraid they may get penalized. Second, players are prepared to play when it’s their turn.” Another spin came from Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, who said if certain tournaments did employ a shot clock, slow players just wouldn’t bother playing in them. Quick thought: The PGA of America wants to stand out. Perhaps they could force their hand and use one for the PGA Championship. No-one’s going to miss a major!

Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.
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