Winless since his 2020 November Masters triumph, Dustin Johnson showed signs that his game is returning to form on Day 1 of the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Johnson was 5 under for his first nine holes, his lowest opening-nine score this year on Tour. However, he carded four bogeys on the back, but matched those with four birdies to finish with an opening 5-under 67, seven shots off Sebastián Muñoz's lead after Round 1.
"Swinging well," Johnson said. "Obviously few mistakes, but more — one was a three-putt. Couple iron shots just missing wrong side. Other than that, I played well, drove it good, hit a lot of really nice iron shots and rolled the putter pretty well. Missed quite a few that — you know, makeable putts, but it's just golf. But, yeah, I'm definitely pleased with the round."
The highlight of Johnson's day was on the par-4 second (Johnson's 11th hole) when he clanked his approach from 159 yards off the flagstick en route to a birdie.
Last year at this time, Johnson was No. 1 in the world, but has since fallen to No. 11. After Sam Burns' win at the Valspar Championship in March of this year, Johnson was knocked out of the OWGR's top 10 for the first time since 2015.
Since then, the 37-year-old finished fourth at WGC-Match Play and T-12 at the Masters, but missed the cut in his last start, the RBC Heritage. However, having only made nine starts so far this season, Johnson likes where his game stands as he's still searching to regain his dominance, just ahead of three majors and the home stretch of the season.
"Didn't play any in the fall other than one event," he said, "and then, yeah, just with the schedule this year feel like I haven't really played a whole lot of golf, so been harder to kind of get in a rhythm. But I got a lot of golf coming up here, so hopefully the game will kick in to good form here at the right time."