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Johnson launches Hoylake charge with best of week 65

By Tony Jimenez

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Big-hitting Dustin Johnson peppered the flags with his approach shots as he bulldozed his way through the field with a best-of-the-week 65 in the British Open second round on Friday.

The 30-year-old American reeled off seven birdies in a flawless effort that left him in second place, four strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy.

"I didn't really make any long putts," Johnson told reporters after closing with an eight-under tally of 136 at Royal Liverpool.

"The longest one I made was probably about a 15, 20-footer on 11. Everything else was six, seven feet.

"I just struck it really well today and I couldn't be happier with the position I'm in."

Johnson said he had to temper his natural aggression as the winds gusted up to 20mph (32kph) on the tricky links layout on the Dee Estuary.

"This golf course doesn't allow you too many chances to let the driver go," added the eight-times U.S. PGA Tour winner, "even with some of the downwind holes.

"I got to hit a couple. I had a lot of fun out there today, just tried to stay relaxed.

"I'm swinging really well. I feel really comfortable over the golf ball."

Johnson has the potential, with his length, to overpower any golf course but he is still waiting to land his first victory in a major.

He made up for an off-day on the greens on Thursday by being more deliberate with his putting stroke in the second round.

"Today I really felt like I took my time on the greens, just to make sure I was really precise with my reads," said the Ryder Cup player.

"I didn't trust my reads yesterday but today I studied my putts really well and tried to pick out a line and stick with it."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)