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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 21 May, 2018

Johnson on the money as McIlroy drops back after edgy start to title defence

World number one Dustin Johnson produced a sizzling first round to set the early pace at the second FedEx Cup play-off event in Boston.

WORLD NUMBER ONE Dustin Johnson blew away playing partner Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy to take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Dell Technologies Championship.

Johnson overcame three-time major champion and former world number one Spieth in a play-off at the Northern Trust last week to claim the first event of the FedEx Cup series.

And American Johnson continued where he left off as he carded a sizzling five-under-par 66 on Friday.

Grouped with Spieth and US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas for the first two rounds, Johnson holed five birdies and an eagle to set the tone at TPC Boston.

Starting on the back nine, Johnson buried a 36-foot putt for birdie to open his campaign at the second play-off tournament – which will see the top 70 players after Monday’s final round progress to the BMW Championship – and he gained further strokes at the 13th and 15th, either side of bogeying the 14th.

Johnson capped a fine opening nine holes with an eagle after hitting a seven-iron approach from 220 yards to within five feet, before bogeying the first and birdieing second and fourth holes.

Spieth is six shots off the pace following his opening-round 72, while Thomas is even par heading into Saturday.

dustinjohnson-cropped_s3jxml299sge13o2wvq5b27bb World number one Dustin Johnson (back) starred against Jordan Spieth and Co.

Defending champion Rory McIrloy meanwhile, has made an edgy start. Seeking his first victory of the year, he sits on one over.

After finishing tied for 34th at the Northern Trust, McIlroy experienced another mixed performance following a double bogey, two bogeys and three birdies.

He started the day well, with birdies on the fifth and sixth but his good start soon diminished as he dropped shot after shot.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia made a fine start as he ended the first day within a stroke of Johnson.

Garcia posted six birdies for a four-under-par 67 to be tied alongside Kyle Stanley, Marc Leishman and fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm.

Kevin Na, Luke List, Brian Harman, Jason Dufner, Jonas Blixt and Grayson Murray are a shot further back, a stroke ahead of the likes of Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson.

As for Jason Day, the Australian struggled to a four-over-par 75.

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