Dustin Johnson takes 1-shot lead in US Open

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OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) Dustin Johnson took the 36-hole lead in the U.S. Open on Saturday without ever hitting a shot.

Johnson finished his second round the night before at 4-under 136 (67-69) because of the earlier rain delays at Oakmont. No one could catch him when the round was completed Saturday. Andrew Landry, the 28-year-old playing in his first U.S. Open, rallied from a rough stretch for a 71 and was one shot behind.

The third round began Saturday afternoon in threesomes off both tees, though it would not be completed by the end of the day.

Almost as surprising as Johnson in the lead were the number of players headed home.

Rory McIlroy four-putted from 10 feet to end his comeback, and a double bogey on the final hole caused him to miss the cut by two shots. Phil Mickelson went back on his word by hitting driver off the tee on the reachable 17th hole, though it didn’t help. He missed the cut for the second straight time in a major.

Also departing early were Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose, while Henrik Stenson didn’t bother returning to finish his second round.

Johnson now has had at least a share of the lead six times in the last five majors dating to the U.S. Open last year at Chambers Bay. But he still hasn’t been in the lead on the day it mattered – the final round.

Oakmont presents his next big chance.

Of the top 10 players on the leaderboard, 46-year-old Jim Furyk is the only player to have won a major.

The sun began to dry out Oakmont, and with no rain in the forecast, the course reputed to be the toughest in the land was starting to show signs of revenge against the unusual low scoring. There were 33 rounds in the 60s over the opening two rounds, compared with just eight for the entire tournament the last time it was at Oakmont.

Gregory Bourdy of France caught Johnson, and briefly passed him, it what was shaping up as the round of the week. Bourdy was 6 under with three holes to play, needing only a birdie to become only the fifth player with a 63 in the U.S. Open.

But he made bogey on the par-3 16th, and his approach to the 18th came up short and rolled down the false front back into the fairway and into a divot and it took two chips to reach the green. He finished with a double bogey for a 67 and was two shots behind.

Shane Lowry of Ireland had to assess himself a one-shot penalty on the 16th green when his ball moved, but he gathered himself to make an 8-foot bogey putt that allowed him to keep his wits, and he played bogey-free from there for a 70.

Bourdy, Lowry, Sergio Garcia and Scott Piercy were at 138. Garcia and Piercy finished their rounds Friday night.

Furyk is playing his final major in his home state, and while his game has struggled as he comes back from wrist surgery that kept him out nearly eight months, he still managed to complete two rounds under par. Furyk was at 1-under 139 with Daniel Summerhays, Andy Sullivan and Lee Westwood.

McIlroy opened with a 77 and came charging off the opening tee. He made four birdies in eight holes until it all fell apart on the par-4 second hole when he took four putts from 10 feet, the final three putts from about 3 feet. Needing a par on the ninth hole, he drove into a bunker and took two shots to get out.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth was getting close to the cut line until he birdied the 16th to stop a slow leak of bogeys. He had another 72 and was eight shots behind. Jason Day, the world’s No. 1 player, finished off a 69 that allowed him to make the cut with one shot to spare.

Everyone was chasing Johnson, who has been immaculate from tee-to-green through the opening two rounds. He has had four good chances in the majors, including last year at Chambers Bay when he had a 12-foot eagle putt on the final hole to win and three-putted to finish one shot behind Spieth.

In his favor is Oakmont. While the course is renowned for having the most impressive list of major champions, six of the eight U.S. Open champions at Oakmont had never won a major. That list includes Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Ernie Els.

Jordan Spieth betting favorite heading into the TOUR Championship

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It is mathematically possible for Jordan Spieth to capture the FedExCup title – and the $10-million bonus – without winning the TOUR Championship. Perhaps that might be a prod to look beyond laying chalk for the PGA Tour playoffs’ finale.

Spieth, who’s first in the FedExCup standings, is listed as a +500 betting favorite to win the TOUR Championship, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Like Spieth, four others in the 30-man field converging on the 7,385-yard par-70 layout at East Lake in Atlanta would win the FedExCup automatically by winning the tournament. That includes (in order of seeding, not price), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+750), Mark Leishman (+1800) and Jon Rahm (+1200).

Spieth’s average finish since June has been 7.7, so it’s a safe bet he’ll continue his strong play. But a situation could arise where, if none of the other top five seeds are in contention, he might focus on the Cup and not the tournament itself, which has a slightly smaller payout of $8.8 million.

Johnson has been outside the top 15 in his last two starts, so it might be best to fade him. Leishman (+1800) is coming in hot after his five-shot win in the BMW Championship, but do remember this will be just his second time in the event. If you’re basing your pick on recent performance, Rahm has three top-5 finishes in a row and is in the top 20 on tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, which is a good quality on a long par-70 such as East Lake.

The highest price of any player outside of those top five seeds belongs to Rickie Fowler (+1000). He was 10th at this event in 2015, the last time he played in it, and he’s second on the entire Tour in strokes gained.

Likewise, Justin Rose (+1200) has two second-place finishes at the TOUR Championship in the last four years.

Incidentally, Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) is ninth in the approach-the-green stat, which might make him a wild card this weekend even though his results have been inauspicious of late. Another darkhorse play with an enticing price on the golf betting lines is Matt Kuchar, who has had three top-10 finishes in the last four tournaments and is very steady, a handy trait to have at a par-70 course.

Each of the past seven FedExCup champions has secured it by winning the TOUR Championship. The law of averages would indicate that streak might end sooner rather than later.

PGA Championship Odds: McIlroy, Fowler coming in hot for Quail Hollow

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The combo of a soggy course and a season-long trend of first-time winners could come into play at the PGA championship this week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Two-time winner Rory McIlroy is the +700 favorite on the odds to win the PGA Championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Jordan Spieth (+800), who’s less than a month removed from his British Open victory, is a close second favorite, with WGC-Bridgestone Invitational winner Hideki Matsuyama (+1100), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Rickie Fowler (+1600) also high on the board.

Quail Hollow is a fixture on the PGA Tour, hosting the Wells Fargo Championship each May. The course has had an aggressive renovation to get it “major ready.” Rain is also expected for all four days, which could create an advantage for long hitters who don’t need a huge roll from tee shots. A course also plays differently in the summer than it does in the spring.

Playing the chalk is justifiable. McIlroy has two Tour victories on this course and had a strong fifth at the Bridgestone last weekend at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. However the course renovations factor into scoring, he’s still been dominant at Quail Hollow. It’s probably reasonable to fade Spieth, given his wonky putting last weekend. It’s just tough to win two majors in a row.

Among the players with odds in the 10/1 to 20/1 range, Dustin Johnson has simply been too inconsistent to inspire much confidence. Fowler will be playing at the course where he got his first Tour victory and he’s playing well, as evidenced by successive 67s at the Bridgestone. He’s also third in the Tour’s total driving stat, which suggests his strengths are suited to Quail Hollow.

Similar things can be said about Matsuyama, who like Fowler is still in search of his first major championship. The 25-year-old Japanese standout won the Bridgestone in a showing that was a testament to his burgeoning talent, and he’s also 12th in driving accuracy.

If the weather is as wet as promised, it plays to the advantage of Brooks Koepka (+2500), the U.S. Open champion who is sixth in driving distance this season. Koepka’s top-10 finish at the British Open indicates that he is not some big-driving one-hit wonder.

The value pick might well be Daniel Berger (+5500), who has three top-five finishes and a win in his last six tournaments. Berger was also in the top 20 at the 2016 Wells Fargo tourney at Quail Hollow. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson (+6600) also has a high price that belies that he was runner-up at the Bridgestone last weekend.

Jimmy Walker, the defending champion, is listed at +10000, only slightly below the +12500 price he had at online gambling sites prior to his unexpected victory in 2016.

This will be the second-last PGA Championship held in August; starting in 2019, it will move to May and become the second major on the golf calendar.