Dustin Johnson takes 1-shot lead over Jordan Spieth in FedEx Cup playoffs opener

Dustin Johnson has missed nine birdie chances from 10 feet or closer at Liberty National, which ordinarily might annoy him.

He’s hitting it so well that he still leads the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open in Jersey City, N.J.

Johnson birdied three of his last six holes Friday, finishing with an approach to 8 feet on the 489-yard closing hole, for a 4-under-par 67 that gave him a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth (64) going into the weekend.

Johnson has won this FedEx Cup playoffs opener twice at other courses. He was at 12-under 130.

“I’ve got a lot of control with the golf ball and hitting a lot of really nice shots and rolled in a couple putts today which is nice, but still feel like I left quite a few out there,” Johnson said. “I’m in a good position heading into the weekend, and if I can keep swinging the way I am, I think it’s going to be a good weekend.”

The weekend does not include Masters champion Tiger Woods, and neither did Friday.

Woods, who opened with a 75, withdrew a few hours before his second round was to begin because of what he described as a mild strain to his oblique. It’s the first time he withdrew in the middle of a tournament since February 2017, two months before fusion surgery on his lower back. He said he was hopeful to play next week.

Spieth might be finding some form at just the right time. Winless in more than two years, he started the PGA Tour’s postseason at No. 69 in the FedEx Cup with no assurance of staying among the top 70 who advance to next week at Medinah near Chicago.

The opening playoff event had a strong cast of contenders, with Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed two shots behind, and Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy among those another shot back.

U.S. Women’s Amateur: Stanford teammates Andrea Lee and Albane Valenzuela are in the semifinals and could play each other for the women’s amateur national championship in West Point, Miss.

Lee, 20, defeated 16-year-old Lucy Li of Redwood City 6-and-5 in the quarterfinals and will play USC’s Gabriela Ruffels, 19, in Saturday’s semifinals.

Valenzuela, 21, will face Megha Ganne, 15, of Holmdel, N.J., in the semifinals after defeating Ohio State sophomore Aneka Seumanutafa, 18, 4-and-2.

The final is Sunday.

LPGA Tour: Mi Jung Hur surged into a two-shot lead in the rain-delayed second round of the Ladies Scottish Open in North Berwick with a 9-under 62. The second round could not be completed Friday because of darkness.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Dustin-Johnson-takes-1-shot-lead-over-Jordan-14294691.php.

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