Johnson holds 3-shot lead at Saudi International after 61


KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Dustin Johnson shot a 9-under 61 and took a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the Saudi International on Friday.

Third-ranked Johnson made seven birdies and an eagle at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club to be 11 under overall, and faring much better than the other members of the world’s top three in the field.

Top-ranked Justin Rose missed the cut at 2 over after a 72, while No. 2 Brooks Koepka was tied for 47th at 1 under after a 70.

Starting on the back nine, Johnson opened with back-to-back birdies and added two more to make the turn in 31.

There was another birdie on No. 2, and a 30-foot eagle putt at the fourth. Consecutive birdies from the sixth hole followed before finishing with a pair of pars.

South African golfer Zander Lombard, who was briefly tied for the lead early in his round of 67, and China’s Li Haotong, who shot 65, were tied for second at 8 under.

A further shot back were Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay (66) and Scott Hend of Australia (63).

First-round leader Thomas Pieters struggled to a 4-over 74 and dropped into a tie for 18th at 3 under.

The new European Tour event is being held amid scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and condemnation following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


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