Friday at the AT&T: DJ Catches Hossler with Overpowering 64

Look at how this leaderboard is shaping up for the weekend!

Two-time AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner Dustin Johnson made a dramatic charge, sinking birdies on his first three holes en route to a Friday-low 7-under 64 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club to catch young gun Beau Hossler at 12-under.

“I feel like I can compete and I feel like I can win at this level,” said the 22-year-old Hossler, who shot a 5-under 67 at Spyglass Hill, and has yet to make a bogey this week. “Even though I haven’t had a super high finish, I feel like I’ve proven to myself that I can get in position to win. Now it’s just a matter of playing a really solid weekend.”

Johnson finally conquered MPCC, guessing that he bested his previous low by seven shots. He even uncorked a 389-yard drive on No. 1 to set up a 109-yard lob wedge into the 495-yard hole.

“I feel like when I’m driving it well, I’m very tough to beat,” conceded Johnson.

Just three shots back, the vaunted trio of Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Jason Day lurk at 9-under.

“It’s going to be tough to try and catch them, butย I’m going to be trying to push forward to try and get that win,” said Day, who also won two weeks ago at Torrey Pines.

Johnson, Mickelson and Day all play Pebble Beach on Saturday. Here’s what else we’re looking for this weekend:

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1. RAHM’S GUNNING FOR THE NO. 1 SPOT IN THE WORLD.

The No. 2 player in the world fired his second straight 67 to reach 9-under. At just 23 years old, Rahm has four wins between the PGA and European tours, and is stalking that No. 1 ranking.

“I’m looking forward to it, if it ever happens,” Rahm said. “But at the end of the day it’s a consequence of good play on the golf course.”

But Johnson isn’t ready to give up the crown just yet:

“I like being No. 1. It drives me to keep working hard. I know the guys out here are very, very good. I know that if I want to stay on top, I’ve got to keep working hard.”

2. HERE COMES LEFTY.

Phil Mickelson has not won since the 2013 British Open. And after scuffling through the first 10 holes at Spyglass Hill in 2-over on Thursday, chances seemed bleak that he could snap that streak this week. But the 47-year-old Mickelson has made 11 birdies and no bogeys since, and is in prime position to chase down a record-tying fifth AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title.

“It’s fun to be in the mix, it’s fun to go over to Pebble Beach now and play two rounds on the weekend knowing that I have a chance and being in the thick of it.ย I just love the feeling and the ambiance of playing Pebble.”

3. THE DEFENDING CHAMP IS FIGHTING BACK.

On a day when 97 players broke par, shooting even at Spyglass Hill felt like playing your way out of the tournament. But defending champion Jordan Spieth ripped off five birdies in his first seven holes at MPCC to jump back into the mix.

Spieth finished with a 5-under 66 to climb into a tie for 23rd. Can he make up seven shots? Spieth remembers shooting a 7-under 65 at Pebble Beach to take control of the tournament last year.

“I’ve got to go to Pebble and try and shoot a low number Saturday like last year,” Spieth said.

Just a heads up: be sure to keep your head on a swivel if you’re following Spieth. His playing partner Jake Owen did this Friday:

4. WHAT HAPPENED TO RORY? HE WAS WAS RIGHT THERE…UNTIL HE 5-PUTTED.

Which is tougher to believe: that Rory McIlroy drove a 349-yard par-4? Or that he then 5-putted for double-bogey? McIlroy began Friday at 4-under after a 68 at Spyglass Hill, and added a birdie on the opening hole at MPCC.

But then his round went sideways.

McIlroy played hockey around the fifth hole, finally swatting in his fifth putt. McIlroy followed up the deflating hole with bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 to tumble to 1-under for the tournament. That’s where he finished, in a tie for 87th. Meanwhile, his playing partner Mickelson zoomed past him with a 65.

5. TIME TO GET MOVING! WHO’S IN DANGER OF MISSING THE CUT?

The top 60 pros and ties make the cut, which currently sits at 3-under. Pros that need to make a move include Luke Donald (+2), Ernie Els (+2), Adam Scott (+4), Graeme McDowell (+7) and Padraig Harrington (+8).

Pros on the bubble? Patrick Reed (-3), Gary Woodland (-2), Brandt Snedeker (-2) and McIlroy (-1).


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