Being No. 1 at the Match Play hasn’t guaranteed Dustin Johnson an easy trip into the weekend elimination rounds.
Johnson lost to No. 40 Branden Grace on Thursday in a tight match in Austin, Texas, that wasn’t decided until Johnson pulled a long birdie from the fringe on No. 18 wide left. The loss left Johnson 1-1 in group play, meaning he needs to beat No. 24 Hideki Matsuyama on Friday for a chance to advance.
Johnson is the top seed for the third consecutive year. He won the tournament in 2017, then lost all three of his matches in 2018.
Though Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth have kept alive their bids to advance from group play, the same cannot be said for defending champion Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and a host of others who will return Friday with no chance of advancing.
PGA Tour: Joel Dahmen birdied five of his last six holes for a 6-under-par 66 to tie Matt Jones and Paul Dunne for the first-round lead in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
LPGA Tour: Chella Choi birdied the final three holes for a 7-under 65 and a two-shot lead over Stephanie Meadow after the first round of the Kia Classic in Carlsbad (San Diego County).
European Tour: In New Delhi, Julian Suri and Stephen Gallacher shared the lead at the Indian Open after opening rounds of 5-under 67.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Dustin-Johnson-needs-win-to-keep-match-play-hopes-13725337.php.