Memphis, Tenn. — Dustin Johnson wants to sharpen his game for the U.S. Open. Moving back to No. 1 in the world would just be a nice bonus because the only way he can do that before Shinnecock Hills is by winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Johnson knows what he wants.
"I just want to win," Johnson said.
Johnson shot 7-under 63 for his lowest round this year and grabbed a one-stroke lead Friday after 36 holes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He had four of his seven birdies and an eagle on his back nine for a 29 and finished with a 10-under 130 total.
Ryan Blaum and Andrew Putnam each shot 64 and were tied second, and C.T. Pan (65) and Wesley Bryan (66) followed at 8 under.
Brandt Snedeker shot his best round this year with a 62 that was one stroke off the course record. He was at 7 under.
Irishman Seamus Power, who came in with a one-stroke lead, shot a 69 to reach 6 under. Defending U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka (69) was at 5 under, and Phil Mickelson (70) was at 4 under.
Two-time defending champ Daniel Berger (71-141) missed the cut.
Johnson spent 64 weeks atop the world ranking until Justin Thomas made the cut at the Players Championship in May and grabbed the top spot to himself. Johnson said the course and not playing only four times in April and May combined prompted his decision to play here before going to Shinnecock Hills.
"Just wanted to play, stay sharp," Johnson said. "I like this golf course, and I feel like I play it well and wanted to be on top of my game going into next week, too."
Johnson also had a 63 in the second round of the World Golf Championships-HSBC last October to kick off this season. He won the Tournament of Champions in January and followed with a tie for second at Pebble Beach in February. He has three top 10s and tied for eighth last week at Memorial.
A winner here in 2012, Johnson is back here looking for 18th career title while tuning up for the U.S. Open he won in 2016. He hit everything well from a 3-wood that went 316 yards off the tee to his irons to putter.
"I feel like I'm playing really well," Johnson said. "I'm swinging the club very well. I know if I can drive it in the fairway that I'm going to give myself a good look for birdie. I felt I did that pretty much all day today and hit a lot of great shots in there and had a lot of really good looks at birdies."
PGA Champions Tour
Bernhard Langer returned for a three-week break to shoot an 8-under 64 and take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Principal Charity Classic at Des Moines, Iowa.
Langer closed the bogey-free round with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th at Wakonda Club. The 60-year-old German star took the brief break in part to attend his son's high school graduation.
Glen Day and Woody Austin were a stroke back, and defending champion Brandt Jobe was at 66 with Jerry Kelly, Tom Lehman and Doug Garwood.
Day opened 66-67 last year at Wakonda, then faded with a 76.
Two-time champion Anna Nordqvist shot a 5-under 66 on Friday for a share of the first-round lead with Laura Diaz and Celine Herbin in the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, N.J.
Nordqvist won the 54-hole event in 2015 and 2016 on Stockton Seaview's Bay Course and finished second last year. Teeing off Friday in the afternoon when the wind was stronger, the 30-year-old Swede closed her bogey-free round with a birdie on the par-5 ninth.
The eight-time LPGA Tour winner is seeking her ninth career victory, has missed the cut in three of her last five events. She is currently 54th on the LPGA money list with more than $132,000 in earnings.
The 43-year-old Diaz made the field as an alternate. She played in the morning when the greens were smoother and the wind more benign and carded five birdies.
Her 12-year-old son, Cooper, was on the bag for her first competitive LPGA Tour round of the year.