US Open descends into farce as Dustin Johnson and Shane Lowry contend for first major

The US Open descended into farce on Sunday after an incident involving Dustin Johnson left players, officials and spectators unsure of what his score was with just six holes to play.

Johnson began the final round at Oakmont four shots behind Ireland's Shane Lowry, but found himself two in front thanks to birdies on the second and ninth and four bogeys in the first 10 holes from Lowry.

However, the world number six was then told on the 12th tee that officials would be reviewing an incident on the fifth hole, bringing back memories of his nightmare finish to the 2010 US PGA when a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole cost him a place in the play-off.

Dustin Johnson waves after making a putt on the second hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club. AP Photo/John Minchillo
Dustin Johnson waves after making a putt on the second hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club. AP Photo/John Minchillo

Johnson had seen his ball move fractionally as he lined up a par putt but called in the referee walking with his group and was initially cleared of any wrongdoing before holing out for par.

The news that Johnson had been informed of the post-round review was widely criticised, with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy writing on Twitter: "This is ridiculous... No penalty whatsoever for DJ. Let the guy play without this crap in his head. Amateur hour from @USGA."

And defending champion Jordan Spieth added: "Lemme get this straight.. DJ doesn't address it. It's ruled that he didn't cause it to move. Now you tell him he may have? Now? This a joke?"

Johnson, who three-putted the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay last year to finish a shot behind Jordan Spieth, had got on level terms with a birdie on the ninth and found himself in the outright lead when Lowry bogeyed the same hole after finding sand off the tee.

The 31-year-old then enjoyed an enormous stroke of luck when he pulled his drive on the 10th into thick rough, but was allowed to take a free drop into the first cut due to a television tower being between him and the green.

Lowry's three-putt bogey on the 10th left Johnson two shots clear, but Lowry reduced the deficit with a tap-in birdie on the 12th.

American Scott Piercy was a shot further back after three birdies and 11 pars in his first 14 holes, with Sergio Garcia another stroke adrift after holing a 30-yard bunker shot on the 299-yard par-three eighth for birdie.

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