Zach Johnson is the new leader at the 2013 British Open, matching Miguel Angel Jimenez for the low front nine of the day with an outward 31. Johnson has been one of the most consistent players in the world over the past two seasons, finishing inside the top five on almost a weekly basis. He struggled a little at the start of this season, but found his form in the past few months and entered this week off a playoff loss at the John Deere.
Johnson, a native Iowan, made a disappointing bogey on the 18th last week at TPC Deere Run and then lost in the playoff to 19-year-old Jordan Spieth. Despite that finish, his form has traveled with him overseas and he cruised through his opening nine to hold a two-shot cushion at one point. The biggest turn came at the easy par-5 fifth hole, where Zach rolled in an eagle putt to get to 3-under on the day. He backed that up with two more birdies to play holes five through seven in 4-under and get on the board as a possible challenge for the record low majors round of 63.
Johnson's front nine pushed him past the Spanish duo of Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Jimenez, who are at 4-under and 3-under. Jimenez stalled out on the back nine after his blistering start, failing to make birdie and carding two bogeys to fall back. But the 49-year-old Mechanic is clearly comfortable and at home at The Open. Cabrera-Bello rebounded from an ugly bogey at No. 9 and came in with a 34 to finish 4-under and one shot back of Johnson, who still has eight holes to play.
Much like Jimenez, Dustin Johnson's low early round has hit a snag on the back nine. After a bogey-free 32 on the front, DJ has failed to make birdie and dropped back to 2-under after a couple ugly mishit irons on the second nine. Phil Mickelson's round has also evened out after birdies in two of his first three holes. Mickelson had the putter working early but he's since been all over the yard, scrambling to save pars and stay in the red. He's 1-under through 13 holes and has not made a birdie since the third.
Here's a current snapshot of the leaderboard as the first wave at Muirfield wraps up their opening round:
|-3||Miguel Angel Jimenez||F|