American Dustin Johnson has vowed to attack the tricky Lakes Golf Club layout at this week’s Emirates Australian Open.
Johnson, who is renowned for his prodigious length off the tee, ranked third in total driving distance on the PGA Tour this season with an average blow of 287m.
The revamped Lakes course is short by modern standards and demands a strategic approach, but the 27-year-old reckons he’ll just use brute force to tame the 6264m track.
“I hit a pretty good bit of drivers,” Johnson said after playing 13 holes on Tuesday.
“On the back side there are a few holes where I would lay up like 17, and the little downhill short one (13th) – I’ll probably lay up there too because it is a severe green.”
“At 10 I hit three-iron. There are a few irons on the back side but I’ll hit a bunch of drivers on the front.”
Asked his initial thoughts on the course, Johnson added: “It is in great shape. It sets up pretty well for me. The tough part of the course is the greens and you’ve got to hit it on the right level.”
“There are a lot of different levels and slopes but once you’ve worked out where to hit it you can use the slopes to get it close to the flag, but you have to hit quality shots to get it close.”
Needing to par the 18th hole at Whistling Straights to claim his first major championship, the laid-back American thought he was in a waste area and grounded his club, only to discover he was actually in a bunker.
The ensuing two-stroke penalty cost him a spot in a playoff with Bubba Watson and eventual winner German Martin Kaymer.
Asked if this week’s venue had invoked memories of that incident, Johnson replied with a smile: “Not until you said something. Thanks for that. I appreciate it. I don’t think about it too much. You can tell you are in a bunker here. If you are in a sand trap, you know you are in one.”
Emirates Australian Open Press Release