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 Has Top Odds, Tiger Woods Making Charge on Masters Betting Lines

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Jordan Spieth has top odds and Tiger Woods is charging up the futures board, but recent history at Augusta National dictates fading those who have already won the green jacket.

Spieth is the +900 favorite on the 2018 Masters betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s first major due to commence on Thursday. All told, nine men in the field have odds of lower than +2000 (or 20/1), including Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+1100), Woods (+1400), Justin Rose (+1400), Bubba Watson (+1600), Jason Day (+1800) and Phil Mickelson (+1800).

However, only two recent champions – Mickelson in 2010 and Spieth in 2015 – have gone off at lower than +2000 odds. Woods is drawing a lot of action at many sportsbooks and it’s all well and good to indulge the thought of an all-time great writing a comeback story, but it will be his first major since 2015. Also, no one over age 40 has won the Masters since 1998.

Eight of the last nine major winners have been first-timers, with Spieth (2017 British Open) being the only exception in that span. Those trends don’t mean automatically having to rule out a favorite. Rose, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Masters, has had five top-10 finishes in the event and is also playing well so far this season, with three top-5 placings.

With a 7,435-yard course that is free of flat hole layouts, Augusta rewards golfers who are efficient with their approach. While there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Woods in 2001-02, defending champion Sergio Garcia (+2800) leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach, while Thomas and Mickelson are also among the leaders.

Two-time winner Bubba Watson missed the cut in in three of the 2017 majors, including the Masters, but his recent win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a reason to consider investing in him.

If one is bent on backing someone who is on the Yet To Win A Major Shortlist, there’s Paul Casey (+2200), who has finished sixth or better in his last three majors. A wrist ailment has affected Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) at times this season, but the Japanese star has finished 11th or higher in his last three starts at the Masters. Matsuyama’s odds are right in the range of several recent Masters champions.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Tony Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

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While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he’s apparently been hard at work ever since.

“I’ll be treating it very serious,” Romo told reporters Tuesday. “My wife will tell you she hasn’t seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you’ll get the best I’ve got this week.”

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf “you’re trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag.”

“I’m not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball,” Romo said. “It’s at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that’s difficult, and sometimes that’s easier depending on the situation.”

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which “was not up to any Tour standard.” The first-tee jitters can’t be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

“I think they’re waiting to either tell me ‘Congrats’ or ‘I knew it, terrible,'” Romo said. “Something along those lines. They’re probably going to wait to see which way the wind’s blowing before they send them.”

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.