Published January 07, 2013
| Sports Network
Maui, HI – The wind finally died down on Monday and Dustin Johnson took advantage of the conditions at Kapalua to grab a 3-stroke lead after two rounds at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
On a marathon Monday, Johnson carded rounds of 69-66 to finish the 36-hole day at 11-under-par 135.
Johnson, the winner of the last two 54-hole PGA Tour events, will go for his seventh PGA Tour title on Tuesday. If he does hang on for the victory, it will mark the sixth straight year he has won on the PGA Tour.
"On a day like today, we were just trying to hit it in the fairway and find it," Johnson said in a TV interview of his two rounds with Bubba Watson. "I think it's kind of coincidence that I play well in 54-hole events. We still have 18 to go and there are a lot of great guys right behind me, so I'm going to have to play great golf tomorrow too. "
Wind had wreaked havoc on the Plantation Course at Kapalua from Friday through Sunday, forcing officials to play 36 holes on Monday. The final round will be on Tuesday, which will mark the first Tuesday finish since the 2006 Booz Allen Classic.
Defending champion Steve Stricker shot 71-67 to end two rounds alone in second place at 8-under-par 138. Watson is one stroke back at minus-7 after shooting 70-69.
Keegan Bradley (71-69) and Brandt Snedeker (70-70) share fourth at 6-under-par 140.
Tommy Gainey shot 72-69 and is alone in sixth place at 5-under-par 141.
Johnson was one of three players that shot in the 60's in the first round, and he shared the lead with Nick Watney and Mark Wilson after the opening round was finally completed.
Once the second round got underway, the wind started to howl again, but it wasn't nearly as strong as it had been the last few days. Johnson started with four pars in a row, then two-putted for birdie from 23 feet out on the par-5 fifth to move to minus-5.
Johnson chipped his third inside four feet at the ninth and he rolled that in to make the turn at minus-6. As he parred the next two holes, Stricker joined him in the lead with a hole-out eagle on the 18th, his ninth hole of the day.
At the 12th, Johnson chipped his second to a foot and kicked that in to reclaim the lead. He drove the green on No. 14 and two-putted from 23 feet for birdie.
Johnson also two-putted the par-5 15th for birdie, then he moved to 10-under with a 3-foot birdie effort at the 16th. His drive on the 17th then ran through the fairway and into a hazard.
After taking a drop, Johnson's third shot stopped 27 feet short of the hole. He two-putted for bogey and fell to minus-9, where his lead was one over Stricker.
Johnson's 5-iron second shot on the par-5 18th stopped five feet from the hole. He poured in the eagle putt to stretch his lead to three strokes.
"I hit the ball really well this afternoon," Johnson said in an interview with Golf Channel. Even hit a good shot on 17. My caddie wanted me to hit 3- wood, but I didn't want to, so I tried to bunt one down there and hit it a little too solid,"
"I didn't really have an off-season, I had a couple weeks off. So that's why I came out here early, I needed the practice. I hadn't touched a club for a couple weeks. I got new irons and a new driver, so they're working out pretty well so far."
Stricker opened his second round with a bogey on the 10th. He ran off three straight birdies from the 13th to get to 4-under. At the 18th, Stricker chipped in for eagle from 63 yards out.
That gave him a share of the lead, but he fell back as he parred the first four holes of the front nine. Stricker got up and down for birdie on the par-5 fifth and made it two in row with a 4-foot birdie putt at the sixth.
Stricker, who has four top-10 finishes in the last five years of this event, parred his final three holes to end three back.
NOTES: The last two 54-hole PGA Tour events that Johnson won were the 2011 Barclays (Hurricane Irene) and the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (rain) ... Despite the wind picking up in the afternoon, there were two more rounds in the 60's, but 10 less rounds under par ... Wilson fell off the pace with a 3-over 76 in the afternoon.