Menu

GOLF

Zach Johnson leads at Colonial

Zach Johnson fired a six-under 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Johnson, whose last PGA Tour victory came at this event two years ago, owns a one-shot lead over a slew of players, including the hottest golfer in the world.

Jason Dufner, who picked up his second in three weeks on Sunday at the Byron Nelson, posted a five-under 65 and is tied for second place.

Dufner, who in the span of a month, not only notched has his first two PGA Tour wins, but also got married, flew out of the gate on Thursday with four birdies in his first five holes. He mixed three birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way for his share of second.

"A nice way to start," said Dufner, who owns four 36-hole leads this season on tour. "I've had a pretty solid last three or four years. I was happy to get a five-under."

Dufner is tied for second with Tom Gillis, Harris English and Kyle Reifers and Dufner isn't the only one who is playing great golf at the moment.

English went 60-63 earlier in the week to easily qualify for the British Open. Gillis has made seven consecutive cuts and Reifers got into the field this week after Scott Verplank withdrew.

Sergio Garcia, who picked up his first PGA Tour victory at Colonial 11 years ago, shot a four-under 67 and shares sixth with Chris DiMarco, Tommy Gainey and Andres Romero.

They are all chasing Johnson, who is in fine form after his tie for second two weeks ago at The Players Championship.

Johnson began on the 10th tee Thursday and opened with a long birdie putt at the 10th. He parred the next two then went on a run that shot him to the top of the leaderboard.

At the par-three 13th, Johnson rolled in a 14-footer for birdie. He narrowly missed the fairway at 14, but managed to knock his second to 16 feet and poured in the putt for back-to-back birdies.

Johnson kept the momentum going with a 17-foot birdie putt at 15, then made it four in a row at the par-three 16th when his 21-footer found the bottom of the cup.

He stood five-under par for the championship and parred four in a row around the turn. At the par-four third, Johnson sank a 15-foot birdie try to get to minus-six.

Johnson made some decent birdie chances on the way into the clubhouse, but failed to convert. His 64 held up throughout the day and he is the first-round leader.

"I struck the golf ball really nice," Johnson said in a televised interview. "The times when I was maybe just in the rough and I had to get myself up and down, I managed to do that.

"I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I made some long putts, but I missed some shorter ones, so it probably evened out in the end."

Ryan Moore, Daniel Summerhays, Roberto Castro, Brendon de Jonge and Brandt Jobe are knotted in 10th place at three-under 67.

NOTES: Hunter Mahan, who is the only player with two wins this year on tour, shot a one-under 69 on Thursday...John Daly, making a rare appearance on the PGA Tour, had an even-par 70 in round one...Players Championship winner Matt Kuchar struggled to a two-over 72...Defending champion David Toms carded a four-over 74...Brian Davis withdrew on Thursday.