GOLF tipster Ace Venturer is looking forward to the US Open and his tips have been posted on a separate thread.
Regular followers of his will know Dustin Johnson is one of his favourites and he is 8-1 tournament jolly with Ladbrokes andWilliam Hill.
He has had a look at Johnson's ups and downs in this tournament down the years.
Ace says: When I think of the US Open it's Dustin Johnson who springs to mind. He has never had an easy time in this competition and I’m looking at three that stand out.
His affair with the US Open started in 2010 at the beautiful Pebble Beach. He started well with a level-par 71 but even then the frailties were beginning to show with a double bogey at the 14th. The second round wasn't too exciting but he was still in contention with a one-under 70.
On the Saturday we saw Johnson was capable of fireworks when he eagled the par-four fourth then birdied the sixth and seventh. Finishing with a five-under 66 he found himself going into the final day leading by three shots from Graeme McDowell.
Nobody had been ripping up the Pebble Beach course so there was no need for Dustin to go for it.
On the Sunday we expected Johnson to take things easy and wait for the birdies to come. It wasn’t to work out that way. He double bogeyed the second and third holes before bogeying the fourth and seventh.
Going into the turn he was six over and really struggling. With four more bogeys on the back nine he ended up with an 82, finishing eighth, five shots behind McDowell.
Johnson took most of 2014 off for personal reasons but returned in February 2015 and soon got himself back into the top 15 of the world rankings. He won the WGC Cadillac Championship moving him up to seventh and was really playing well, so well he was one of the favourites for the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay.
Hitting a first-round 65 (five under) he was playing the course really well, while others were finding the conditions hard. A 71 in the second round was followed by an even-par third round, tying him for the lead with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and South African Branden Grace. By the 18th it was left to Spieth and Johnson who was one behind the Masters champion.
A five iron to the par-five 18th left him a 12-foot putt for an eagle. His first putt went three feet past the hole on the lightning fast green but still had the putt for a play-off with Spieth on the Monday. He had been putting well all week so there was no reason to think he would miss it. He did and Spieth became a double Majors champion.
However, it all turned out well in 2016 although the USGA tried hard to ruin Johnson’s day. On the opening day play was suspended at 4.30 with only nine players having completed their rounds due to torrential rain.
The leader was a relatively unknown journeyman from Texas called Andrew Landry. One of the players who hadn’t got on the course was Johnson and on the following day he, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Day were among those who had to play two rounds.
With the course not in the best of conditions Johnson hit a first-round 67 followed by a 69 which was truly brilliant golf.
The round of the Saturday was Shane Lowry’s 65 which put him four shots clear of Johnson and five clear of Lee Westwood, Daniel Summerhays and Landry. Johnson had hit a 71 but over the piece his ball striking from tee to green was majestic.
Big DJ knew he had to put pressure on the Irishman from the start and a whopping 378-yard drive off the first tee did that. With perfect ball-to-green striking Johnson had reached the turn level with Lowry on minus four.
On the 13th tee the USGA decided to get involved informing DJ that on the fifth green he may have incurred a penalty when his ball moved as he prepared to putt. He had informed the official who was with him at the time the ball had moved but had not grounded his club and was told he was okay.
How he managed to play the golf he did from then on is amazing. He was so focused that on the 72nd hole when had a five-footer for birdie he asked his caddie how many shots he was ahead. He hadn’t looked at the scoreboard.
Anyway he rolled the putt into the centre of the hole and won by three. He had at last achieved what most of us knew he could and since that first Major win he has just got better.
Can he win this week at Erin Hills – you bet he can. It will be a tough ask but if anyone can do it he can.
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