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Dustin Johnson starts well, Henley leads Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson carded a five-under 65 to be a shot adrift of first-round Northern Trust leader Russell Henley.

DustinJohnson - Cropped
American Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson finished his opening round strongly at the Northern Trust to be a shot behind leader Russell Henley on Thursday.

World number one Johnson birdied four holes on the back nine at Glen Oaks Club to card a five-under 65 at the first event of this year's FedEx Cup Play-offs.

Johnson is outright second, a shot behind Henley, while Scott Brown, Camilo Villegas and Chris Kirk opened with 66s to be tied for third.

Without a win since March, Johnson – the 2011 champion – put three approach shots to within seven feet for birdies at 13, 16 and 18, while he made a 12-footer at the 10th.

Henley, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, mixed eight birdies with two bogeys to grab the outright lead.

Behind Brown, Villegas and Kirk are a group of six – Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson, Harold Varner III, Kelly Kraft, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Flores – at three under.

Oosthuizen was three under through his opening three holes after beginning on the back nine, but he settled for a 67.

Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas made decent starts to be at two under.

Fowler was one over before he got going on the back nine, making four birdies in six holes, but he bogeyed the 17th after finding water with his tee shot.

Jason Day, the 2015 winner, and Jordan Spieth managed one-under 69s, as did Wyndham Championship winner Henrik Stenson.

U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka (72), Rory McIlroy (73) and Hideki Matsuyama (74) are well back.

McIlroy, the defending FedEx Cup champion who is battling a rib injury, was even through nine, but he bogeyed 10, 13 and 17 – like Fowler finding water at the latter.

Patrick Reed, who won this event last year, opened with an even-par 70.

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