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Another electric start no guarantee of PGA glory for Johnson

| 14.08.2015

Waking up after the first day of the PGA Championship must feel like Groundhog Day for punters, seeing huge-hitting Dustin Johnson topping the leaderboard for the third major in succession after round one.

Indeed, the American, who fired an ultra-composed opening 66 to lead outright by one at Whistling Straits, has led after five of 13 rounds played at major championships in 2015.

However, as anyone who has backed the man with the longest average drive on the PGA Tour will know, Johnson has not been seen holding any silverware aloft come the final Sunday, not one with the Christian name Dustin anyhow.

Surely this sequence must end? It’s a difficult thing to predict with any confidence though given what’s gone before for the South Carolinian, who is the 4/1 favourite to convert his single-shot advantage into glory.

Johnson hasn’t broken par in the third or fourth rounds in his last three starts, which take in similarly stellar starts at the US Open, the Open Championship and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

Whatever the reasons for this inability to sustain the charge, there’s also another seemingly prohibitive statistic which goes against him.

No player since Hal Sutton in 1983 has held an outright lead after 18 holes and gone onto win the PGA Championship.

The alternative candidates are numerous should DJ’s demons return, but many will fancy Jason Day, only two shots back at -4, to finally translate his majestic form at the biggies into victory at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.

Having been paired together, all eyes were on world numbers one and two sometime after Johnson had blasted his way around the Wisconsin course, with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth both carding a 71, to finish five back.

It was eventful stuff for golf’s power couple, but McIlroy in particular must be delighted to be within touching distance, given his return to action after a month out injured has arrived at a major.

Both struggled to make putts, but if they can improve on the greens then Spieth at 8/1 and Rory at 10s look to be offering unusual amounts of value heading into round two.

Of the chasing pack, keep an eye out for the unshakable Japanese player Hideki Matsuyama who is well poised after an opening round 70 and well priced at 33/1 having featured prominently in many expert picks before the championship.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.