Dublin, OH — Dustin Johnson’s day two card at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide did not read like it was a bad day, but his play had consequences.
After finishing round one as the tournament leader, he shot 1-under par in round two and sits at 9 -under par, tied for fifth. This leaves Johnson sitting three strokes back of clubhouse leaders Brendan Steele and Matt Kuchar who stand at -12.
Johnson, for the most part, had a pretty good round. He started strong, finding himself 11-under par and one shot behind the lead.
Where Johnson really had trouble, was the greens.
Johnson said after round one that he was working hard at his putting, but it did not translate on Friday.
“The only difference from today than yesterday is I just didn’t hole any putts,” Johnson said about his round. “It was pretty simple. I was having a lot of great looks and didn’t make anything.”
After finishing his first nine holes at 2-under par, he played at that same pace until he reached his fifteenth hole of the day, the par 4, sixth hole.
Johnson had been hitting well off the tee all day, but on this hole he hit his initial drive into the crowd. He did himself no favors by hitting his second shot off a tree and into a bunker. He would double bogey the hole and would only find one more birdie in the round to shoot a 1- under 71.
“I shot one under,” said Johnson. “It’s not a great score out there today, but with not making any putts and hit a few loose shots here and there. I felt like overall, though, I hit it pretty dang good,” said Johnson.
The men Johnson will be trying to catch in Steele and Kuchar, have had varying degrees of success in their career. Steele hasn’t won since his rookie season in 2011 but has seen his game improve.
While Steele may find himself in a position he hasn’t sat in for awhile, Kuchar is sitting comfortable. He has four top-10’s in his last five starts and he won this tournament in 2013 while also having seven top-15 finishes at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
“I’ve been playing good, solid, steady golf. and it feels like it’s my fourth week of really good golf,” said Kuchar of his recent play. “I hope to continue for a good weekend. Certainly, the start is great. I love this golf course. I love coming here. I’ve got great feelings, winning in 2013, but a lot of nice solid finishes. It’s certainly been a nice Thursday, Friday start, and looking forward to a great weekend.”
Muirfield Village is certainly a course Kuchar is comfortable playing, and he knows it suits his strengths.
“This course offers great variety,” Kuchar said. “It’s got long hard holes, it’s got short holes and it’s got short holes where, if you’re on the wrong side, you can turn a short hole into an easy bogey or double bogey pretty quickly. So precision is key for sure. Here, length is always an advantage. It’s never not. But you can get away with kind of picking and choosing your places to take advantage, and I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it this week so far.”
Kuchar has had plenty of success in his career at Muirfield Village. He is 66 under since 2009.
Mother Nature may have the final say of who wins this weekend but with Kuchar’s history, a victory from him would not be surprising.