January 8 2013
Dustin Johnson has won six PGA TOUR events. Two of them have come in weather-shortened 54-hole tournaments.
Now he stands on the verge of adding a third 54-hole win as he takes a three-shot lead going into Tuesday's third and final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
But the long-hitting Johnson doesn't consider himself the "54-hole King." He just plays to win until they tell him to stop. That's what he did at the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the 2011 Barclays.
And that's what he'll do today at Kapalua's Plantation Course.
"Just happened to win those two events," Johnson said of his 54-hole wins. "You know, I've still got 18 more holes of golf. It wouldn't matter if it was 72 holes or 54.
"(Tuesday) is still the last round and there's 18 holes to play, so got to get the job done."
He certainly got the job done on Monday when the 30-man field played 36 holes. He shot a 4-under 69 in the morning and followed with a 7-under 66 in the afternoon, leaving him at 11 under, three shots clear of defending champion Steve Stricker.
Bubba Watson, Johnson's playing partner on Monday, is in third place at 7 under.
Although the Plantation Course is one of the toughest walking courses on the PGA TOUR, Johnson used his peak physical condition to play better in the afternoon.
"This course is a tough walk and it's really windy out there," Johnson said, "but I'm in pretty good shape. I can handle it."
He'll need to walk only 18 holes on Tuesday. His distance off the tee, along with his accuracy with his irons -- he hit a career-best 33 of 36 greens in regulation on Monday -- will make him tough to beat.
Add in the fact that he played six practice rounds at Kapalua with new equipment, and no one may have been more ready to start the season.
Tuesday could be something special for Johnson. In fact, 2013 might very well be a special season.
"Obviously it's the first event of the year, but I think for sure that I'm due for a big year," Johnson said. "I haven't achieved everything that I can. I haven't played to my full potential yet.
"So you know, maybe it will happen this year. I still have got a lot of things I need to work on and improve, and if I do that, then I think I'll have a very good year."
Tuesday's round begins at 12:10 p.m. ET (7:10 a.m. Hawaii time). Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker, playing in the final group, tee off at 1:20 p.m. ET (8:20 a.m. Hawaii time).