The South Carolina native drew massive crowds for his early round in Round One of the Wells Fargo Championship at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington on Thursday, and off the tee, it seemed he hadn't missed a step with the distance.
England's Greg Owen and Paul Casey are the highest-placed Brits on two under par, four shots off the lead.
Johnson was a popular pick to claim the first major of the year, eventually won by Sergio Garcia, having won his previous three tournaments - February's Genesis Open, and both the WGC Mexico Championship and WGC Dell Match Play in March.
He slipped near the bottom and crashed so hard on his lower back that it left a deep bruise, and the pain didn't entirely subside until last week. His health is fine.
Molinari ran off five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine and closed out his round with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.
Sweden's Alex Noren, and Americans JB Holmes, Grayson Murray and Brian Campbell were tied for second after shooting 67s. "Really good. Healthy. So I can't complain", Johnson said.
"It's a great track, not the longest, but especially in the breeze you need to hit the ball in the right spot on the greens", he said.
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"European indices like FTSE now traded in positive trend and DAX and CAC 40 traded in negative trend". The broader mid-cap and small-cap also lost by 0.99 per cent and 1.48 per cent respectively.
"Feeling good", Johnson said. While he hasn't played or practiced much, Johnson said he was good to go after not hitting a shot in a competitive round in 39 days. 'No one's beaten me since February, a grinning Johnson, who grew up in nearby SC, told a news conference on Wednesday. I hit a lot of good shots, gave myself a lot of chances. "But anything under par was going to be a good score".
Shot of the day: Molinari was left of the 18th green with his approach, but he managed to hole the subsequent 25-foot chip shot for a closing birdie, his eighth of the day. I maybe played a little more conservatively.
"I enjoyed being out there and playing".
The Waterford native started at the 10th and birdied four of his first 11 holes, with another on the sixth before a bogey on his last hole, to sit at four under.
Romo is one of more than 9,000 players who signed up for the US Open.
Johnson said he has been without pain in his back since late last week, just about the time he caught a cold.
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