Monday Finish: DJ leaves field in the dust at THE NORTHERN TRUST
Takes over all-important top spot in FedExCup standings, regains world No. 1
August 24, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Dustin Johnson’s Round 4 highlights from THE NORTHERN TRUST
At the end of a week in which he flirted with 59 (a second-round 60), made five eagles, and slept on the lead for two nights, Dustin Johnson hits all 18 greens in regulation en route to a final-round 63 and a gaudy 11-stroke victory over Harris English (69). With 22 PGA TOUR wins, Johnson joins a group of 29 other players with that many or more. He also moves back up to No. 1 in the world, and, crucially, takes a 92-point lead over Justin Thomas atop the FedExCup standings. Only the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship remain.
It’s all getting very real now.
Welcome to the Monday Finish.
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1. He didn’t get 59 kinds of emotional. Could Johnson have matched Scottie Scheffler and shot 59 in round two? Definitely. Johnson was 11 under through 11 holes (not a typo), and while he needed only one birdie coming in, he instead could manage only seven pars.
If a 60 could ever be called a buzz-kill, this was that 60. It included a lip-out on 17 and a failure to birdie the easy, par-5 18th after his drive tumbled into the right rough. No matter, though. Johnson kept his eye on the big picture and the prospect of a fifth career Playoffs win, tying Rory McIlroy for most on TOUR.
“Obviously 18, if I had to do over again, I would have probably hit 3-wood, but it is what it is,” Johnson said. “I was trying to get a short iron in my hand. … Any time you shoot a number like that, you're never going to be disappointed. I definitely feel like the game is in good form and need to come out tomorrow and do the same thing.” And so he did.
2. He had no weaknesses. Johnson became the first winner other than Tiger Woods in the last 37 years to lead the field in par 3, par 4 and par 5 scoring average. Johnson also hit all 18 greens in regulation on Sunday, making him the first winner to do so since Corey Pavin in 2006, and his 65 greens hit for the week were seven more than the next best.
Johnson’s 30-under total was a stroke shy of the TOUR record for most under par, and his 11-shot margin was the biggest since Phil Mickelson at the 2006 BellSouth Classic. His 60-64-63 over the final three rounds also marked the lowest score in three consecutive rounds on TOUR.
3. He didn’t go into protect mode. With a five-shot lead over Harris English entering the final round, Johnson could easily have looked back at the 2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, where he squandered a six-shot lead and Justin Rose won.
So much for that idea. Keeping his foot on the gas, Johnson eagled the par-5 second hole and went 6 under for his first eight holes Sunday. He never even gave English a chance.
“Shooting 30-under on a Playoff golf course like this is pretty incredible,” English said.
Woods heads to BMW with momentum
At No. 57 in the FedExCup, Tiger Woods has some work to do to crack the top 30 and make it back to East Lake for the TOUR Championship. But at least he’s headed in the right direction.
Woods birdied his first four holes and shot a final-round 66 (T58) at TPC Boston.
“I felt like I hit the ball better,” said Woods, whose 82nd and most recent victory came at the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan last fall. “I putted better. Everything was just cleaner and better today. It was good. Just wish I would have kept the round going a little bit more. I had a couple nice little eagle looks on the front nine. It could have been – well, it could have been one of those really low rounds, but I'll take 5-under.”
It was only his fifth start of the calendar year due to physical limitations that saw him bow out of a handful of big tournaments before the TOUR went on hiatus during the pandemic. Although he said he would have liked to have finished higher at TPC Boston, giving himself less to do at the BMW to make the top 30, the 66 was his lowest round since the ZOZO last October.
Woods’ next TOUR win would move him out of a tie with Sam Snead for most all time.
Shelton surges as big names bow out
All good things must come to an end, but maybe for these guys it’s just a pause. Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood were among the big names who failed to advance to this week’s BMW Championship at Olympia Fields.
Spieth, who won the FedExCup at East Lake in 2015, missed the cut by one to give himself no chance on the weekend at TPC Boston. Mickelson, who had never missed the BMW since the Playoffs began in 2007, also missed the cut in Boston but decamped for the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National, his PGA TOUR Champions debut, today through Wednesday.
On the other side of the ledger was first-year TOUR member Robby Shelton, who went 6 under for his last six holes Sunday to card a 63 and finish T13. That was good enough to move him from 81st to 62nd in the FedExCup, and thus into the field at this week’s BMW Championship.
“It was just like kind of a switch went off, I guess,” said Shelton, who went birdie, birdie, eagle, par, birdie, birdie to close out his round. “It finally started happening.”
His was easily the most dramatic finishing kick of any player Sunday.
“It kind of felt like I was winning the golf tournament for a minute there,” Shelton said.
“My best performance throughout the bag for four days.” – Johnson after joining Justin Thomas, Brendon Todd, Webb Simpson and Collin Morikawa as multiple winners this season.
“It feels really good to finally get back there.” – Harris English (who has made it to East Lake for the TOUR Championship just once) after moving from 27th to 6th in the FedExCup.
“Most happy 73 that I’ve had in a while.” – Louis Oosthuizen (T13), who birdied the 16th and 18th holes to move to 70th in the FedExCup, earning the last spot into the BMW Championship.
The No.1 seed in the FedExCup standings will start the TOUR Championship at 10-under par and with a two-shot lead before the season-ending tournament starts next week. That No.1 seed will be determined at the conclusion of this week’s BMW Championship.
Dustin Johnson took over the top spot with his 11-shot victory at THE NORTHERN TRUST, bumping Justin Thomas to No. 2. The Playoffs bring big volatility with 1,500 FedExCup points available to the winner, but here’s how the top 10 look at the moment.
What did DJ just do? I mean I hate the joke and it gets way overused... but WHAT course did you just play???? -30????!!! 🙈🙈 unreal @DJohnsonPGA— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) August 23, 2020