Dustin Johnson red hot in Saudi Arabia after 61

World No 3 surges into halfway lead as Justin Rose suffers rare missed cut in inaugural Saudi International

England’s Justin Rose  and his caddie on  the 16th hole during the second round of the Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

England’s Justin Rose and his caddie on the 16th hole during the second round of the Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

Dustin Johnson surged into the halfway lead as world No 1 Justin Rose suffered a rare missed cut in the inaugural Saudi International.

Johnson carded an eagle and seven birdies to set a new course record of 61 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, eclipsing the mark of 63 established by Belgium’s Thomas Pieters on day one of the €2.6million event.

That left the world No 3 with a three-shot lead over China’s Li Haotong and South African Zander Lombard, with Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti and Australia’s Scott Hend a shot further back.

Paul Dunne’s 69 left him three under for the tournament, eight shots back from Johnson.

Rose came into the week on the back of winning his 10th PGA Tour title in the Farmers Insurance Open, but a double bogey on the 16th proved costly as a second round of 72 meant the 38-year-old missed just his second cut since August 2017, a total of 36 events.

“The mistakes I made I felt were due to trying to chase the cut, and that doesn’t happen if I had putted a bit better the first day,” said Rose, whose last early exit from a regular European Tour event was in Hong Kong in December 2011.

“I actually played really nicely day one. Today I felt not as good, but I think the mistakes were more because I was behind the eight-ball trying to get into the tournament.”

Further birdies

Johnson, who started his round from the 10th, had an outside chance of recording the second 59 in European Tour history when he went to the turn in 31 and picked up further birdies on the second, sixth and seventh, as well as eagle from 25 feet on the fourth.

However, the former US Open champion had to settle for pars on his last two holes, and admitted he was not even thinking about joining England’s Oliver Fisher in the history books.

“I mean, I was trying to go birdie-birdie, but I never really thought about it,” Johnson told Sky Sports. “I wasn’t even thinking it was a par-70. I was just trying to keep getting my score lower and lower.

“It was really good. Obviously you always have fun when you’re playing well, but I did a lot of the same things I did yesterday. The greens rolled a little bit better today.

“I felt like I paid a lot more attention to exactly what the putts were going to do, and just kind of tried to make sure I just trusted the line that I was playing and made some putts today. You know, I drove it really well and gave myself a lot of opportunities.”

Two shots

Li was penalised two shots on the final hole of the Dubai Desert Classic last week because his caddie was on a direct line behind the ball when he began to take his stance on the green.

That was in breach of rule 10.2b(4), one of a number amended at the start of 2019, and meant the defending champion dropped from a tie for third to a tie for 12th, costing him more than €80,000.

Controversy over the ruling prompted European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley to contact the R&A to voice his displeasure at what he called a “grossly unfair” penalty, but Li was keen to move on following a second round of 65.

“It is very pleasing,” Li said. “I was disappointed in number four, which is a birdie hole and became a bogey, which is a two-shot [swing] there. But I think everything I did very well.”

SCOREBOARD
(British and Irish unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateur)
129
Dustin Johnson (USA) 68 61
132 Haotong Li (Chn) 67 65, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 65 67
133 Scott Hend (Aus) 70 63, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 67 66
134 Ryan Fox (Nzl) 67 67, Chris Paisley 66 68, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 66 68, Alexander Levy (Fra) 69 65
135 Jake McLeod (Aus) 65 70, Ian Poulter 68 67
136 Liam Johnston 70 66, Victor Perez (Fra) 66 70, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 68 68, Justin Walters (Rsa) 66 70, Gavin Green (Mal) 68 68, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 71 65
137 Justin Harding (Rsa) 65 72, Ross Fisher 65 72, Joost Luiten (Ned) 66 71, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 68 69, Romain Langasque (Fra) 67 70, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 68 69, Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 72 65, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 67 70, Tom Lewis 71 66, Paul Dunne 68 69, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 67 70, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 69 68, Bradley Dredge 67 70, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 63 74, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 69 68
138 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 67 71, Matthew Jordan 73 65, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 69 69, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 68 70, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 66 72, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 68 70, Matthew Southgate 67 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 69, Robert Rock 69 69, Sam Horsfield 68 70, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 71 67, David Lipsky (USA) 71 67, Thomas Detry (Bel) 68 70, Patrick Reed (USA) 67 71
139 Shaun Norris (Rsa) 66 73, Paul Waring 69 70, Stuart Manley 73 66, Aaron Rai 69 70, Renato Paratore (Ita) 65 74, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69 70, Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 72 67, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 70, Robert Macintyre 69 70, Alfie Plant 65 74, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 69 70
140 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 69 71, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 68 72, Clement Sordet (Fra) 71 69, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 70 70, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 67 73, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 68 72, Jordan Smith 69 71, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 69 71, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 70 70

MISSED CUT
141
Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 70, Adri Arnaus (Esp) 70 71, David Howell 72 69, Ashun Wu (Chn) 67 74, George Coetzee (Rsa) 70 71, Hyo-won Park (Kor) 70 71, Romain Wattel (Fra) 69 72, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 72 69, Stephen Gallacher 70 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 67 74, Sean Crocker (USA) 72 69
142 Matteo Manassero (Ita) 66 76, Jack Singh Brar 70 72, Ashley Chesters 70 72, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 70 72, Scott Jamieson 67 75, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 72 70, Todd Clements 71 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 69 73, Justin Rose 70 72, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 70 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 74
143 Richie Ramsay 68 75, David Drysdale 71 72, Ernie Els (Rsa) 70 73, David Horsey 73 70, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 72 71, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 71 72
144 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 77 67, (a) Rayhan Thomas (Ind) 67 77, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 73 71, Andy Sullivan 70 74, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 71 73, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 72 72, Sam Brazel (Aus) 71 73, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 72 72, Lee Westwood 69 75
145 Matt Wallace 74 71, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 71 74, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 72, Andres Romero (Arg) 73 72, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 74 71, Pelle Edberg (Swe) 73 72, Bernd Ritthammer (Ger) 70 75, Kim Koivu (Fin) 80 65
146 Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 74 72, Eddie Pepperell 71 75
147 David Law 70 77, Steven Brown 75 72, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 75 72, Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 69 78, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 72 75
148 Grant Forrest 71 77, Oliver Fisher 73 75
149 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72 77, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 71 78, James Morrison 75 74
150 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 77 73, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 73 77
151 Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (Esp) 76 75, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 77 74, Lee Slattery 74 77
156 (a) Shergo Al Kurdi (Jor) 73 83
159 (a) Saud Al Sharif (Sau) 79 80
161 Othman Al Mulla (Sau) 80 81
165 (a) Abdulrahma Al Mansour (Sau) 83 82

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.