Reuters - Fri, 05 Feb 03:31:00 2010
Northern Trust Open first round leader Dustin Johnson is quickly becoming a fan of the Riviera Country Club layout.
Seven of the nine Northern Trust rounds he has played there have been under par, including his opening round 7-under 64 that gave him a one-stroke lead.
Johnson shot 32 on the front and back nines, and was one of only two golfers in the top 25 not to make a bogey. Ricky Barnes, who shot 66, was the other.
"It really fits my eye well," Johnson said of the course.
"The greens are really good here. It's just a fun course to play. You've got to hit every club in your bag and you've got to be smart coming into the greens."
Starting out on the back nine, Johnson made three birdies in five holes including a 64-foot putt on the 12th. He also converted putts of 15 and 10 feet for birdie during his first nine holes.
"I got off to a good start," Johnson said. "I hit some good shots and made a real good birdie."
He did not have to work nearly as hard to pick up shots on his inward nine, making putts of a foot, six feet and 14 feet for birdie.
Putting has been an obstacle for Johnson, who ranked 62nd in total putts last year. This year through two events he was 115th.
Third year player Johnson has recorded two Tour victories, the 2008 Turning Stone Resort Championship and last year's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.