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Dustin Johnson maintains lead at rain-delayed Open Championship

By The Sports Xchange
1/7
Dustin Johnson maintains lead at rain-delayed Open Championship
American Dustin Johnson plays a fairway shot on the 1st hole on the second day of the 144th Open Championship, St.Andrews on July 16, 2015. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI. | License Photo

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Weather was the story Friday at the 144th Open Championship.

A three-hour weather delay kept the course clear and, when play resumed, damp and windy conditions created the type of challenges golfers have come to expect at this event.

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The first-round leader Dustin Johnson began play Friday at 5:48 p.m. local time (12:48 p.m. ET) alongside Jordan Spieth, who is bidding to claim a third consecutive major victory. Because of the delayed start, 42 golfers remained on the course when darkness ended play for the day.

Johnson, who shot a 65 in the first round, birdied three of his first nine holes Friday to move to 10-under. He played 13 holes before play was suspended. He remained at 10-under, one stroke ahead of England's Danny Willett.

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"I'm in a good spot," Johnson said. "Definitely got very tricky this afternoon -- all day. Even the front side, the wind was howling and it was blowing straight left to right pretty much. It played very tough all day."

Spieth had two bogeys and three birdies on the front nine and walked off the course at 5-under. They and the rest will finish their round Saturday morning.

Willett shot a 3-under 69 Friday to take the early lead at 9-under. He made bogeys on No. 15 and No. 17 before finishing with a birdie. The top amateur in 2013 had a T-13 finish in the 2013 Open. Willett shot 66 in the first round.

"Yeah, I think it's a childhood dream and looking up there it's still a little bit surreal, but something I'm going to have to get used to," Willett said. "Otherwise, no point in being up there. We're going to try and rest up and then try and go out for another good weekend and hopefully, we can be up there in two days' time."

Jason Day, who made a strong bid in the U.S. Open last month, was at 8-under through 11 holes along with Paul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion who finished 12 holes.

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Zach Johnson, the only player to make the cut in the past eight Open Championships, shot a 71 Friday after an opening 66 to join a group at 7-under.

Adam Scott (67), Robert Streb (71) and Marc Warren (69) also finished the second round at 7-under. Louis Oosthuizen joined them at 7 under through 11 holes.

The last time four golfers finished the second round with a cumulative score of 7-under or better was 2006, when seven players did it. From 2008 to 2014, just five golfers carded 7-under or better through the first two rounds, according to ESPN.

Tom Watson, 65, shot an 80 -- just the second time in 129 rounds at the Open that he had failed to break 80. He posed for pictures on the bridge on the 18th hole and was cheered by the few hundred fans who remained as he walked up the fairway.

"There were no tears," Watson said. "This is a joyous occasion. I have a lot of great, great memories. And those memories filled me up."

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Tiger Woods was at 5-over through 11 holes and was expected to miss the cut for the third time in his past four majors.

NOTES: When Zach Johnson arrived at the Old Course on Friday morning, with rain pouring and the first and 18th fairways flooded, he hoped there would be a delay. But he thought it highly unlikely because golfers "expect brutal conditions at times" at the British Open. There was a delay, however, and Johnson then shot a 1-under 71 for a two-day total of 7-under 137. "I feel I played just as well as Thursday (he shot 66), but I had two three-putts. Thursday I putted great. ... Danny Willett, in second place when the second round was suspended, is from Yorkshire, England. "I've been told several times no Yorkshire man has won the Open," said Willett, who was the Ohio Valley Conference freshman of the year in 2006 at Jacksonville State. ... Phil Mickelson bogeyed two of the final four holes, finished with a 72 after a 70 Thursday and refused to do any interviews. ... Padraig Harrington, a two-time Open champion, awoke at 5 a.m. local time for a 7:38 tee time, went to the practice range and was caught in the downpour that flooded the course. "This is the Open," said Harrington, an Irishman, "and I thought we were going to play. But unfortunately the town of St. Andrews drained onto the first fairway."

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