MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Before Sunday, Dustin Johnson's only history with walk-off hole-outs came during his junior golf days in South Carolina.
It was during a tournament while playing against PGA TOUR winner Kevin Kisner that Johnson found himself on the receiving end of a hole-out to lose a tournament.
"[Kevin] actually skulled it, too," Johnson said with a smile. "It hit the flag and went in and beat me by a shot."
Johnson had the opportunity to feel what it's like to be on the victorious side of a hole-out during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
With a lash from the rough with his 9-iron, Johnson watched as his approach shot landed on the green and disappeared into the hole for eagle.
For a couple seconds, Johnson wasn't sure if the ball had gone in.
"By the reaction from the crowd, I thought it might have gone in, but I couldn't see it so it was kind of tough," said Johnson after shooting 66. "What a cool way to end."
The shot capped a dominant final round performance from Johnson, who left TPC Southwind with a six-shot victory after starting the afternoon tied with Andrew Putnam at 15 under.
Despite making just one birdie in his first 12 holes, Johnson was in complete control of his game for much of the day, grabbing a two-shot lead after the opening hole that set the tone for the round.
While Johnson hit only 12 greens in regulation, he was able to lean on his putting when it counted.
Holding a two-shot lead on the 12th hole, Johnson appeared to be on the verge of letting Putnam back into the tournament when his putt from 54 feet came up 15 feet short of the hole.
Instead of dropping a shot, Johnson calmly rolled in the 15-footer to retain the two-shot advantage, giving a fist pump in the process.
"That was a big putt," Johnson said. "That kind of gave me the boost I needed to finish out the round. Sometimes those par putts are just as big if not bigger than the birdie putts. Kind of gave me the extra boost I needed to finish the round."
When Johnson decided to add Memphis to his schedule, he did it with the putter in mind — a club he admitted had been below his standards in previous starts.
"I felt like I struggled quite a bit with the putter the last three or four events," Johnson said. "To come here and to play the way I did, I felt like I putted better this week."
With the TaylorMade Spider Tour putter he used for much a last season — Johnson returned to the mallet at Muirfield Village — he ranked 12th in Strokes Gained: Putting for the tournament.
With the win, Johnson moved up to second in the FedExCup standings and regained the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking he held for 64 consecutive weeks, before Justin Thomas broke the streak at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
It only took Johnson three weeks to wrest it away from Thomas.
While Johnson acknowledged the title is nice to have on the resume, it's winning in the fashion he did on Sunday that has the 18-time TOUR winner excited about his U.S. Open chances.
"Winning this week I think is a bigger confidence booster than being No. 1 in the world," Johnson said.
"Playing the way I did all week, knowing everything that was on the line gives me a lot of confidence. I think it was a big win, it was a big statement."
Phil Mickelson will head to the U.S. Open with some momentum. The 43-time PGA TOUR winner notched six birdies, including two in the last four holes, to shoot a final round 65. Mickelson improved his score by eight shots from Saturday's 73 and only needed 25 putts to get around TPC Southwind. He's now finished no worse than T12 in his last six starts in Memphis.
It wasn't the final round Andrew Putnam was hoping for, but he still managed to post a career-best runner-up finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Putnam opened the day with a double bogey to break the tie and wasn't able to cut into Johnson's three-shot lead until a birdie on the 7th hole. It was his only birdie of the day. Outside of the double, Putnam made two bogeys during the week.
Stewart Cink closed with back-to-back bogeys to finish 8 under. He still left Memphis feeling good about his game, thanks in part to a T4 showing that was his first top-5 since a T5 at the 2015 RBC Canadian Open. "I'm going to call a spade a spade, it was a really good week for me and I got a chance to be in contention. I had a good time battling, learned a little bit about what I need to work on," Cink said.
Something clicked for Brandt Snedeker in Memphis. In his last tune-up before the U.S. Open, Snedeker recorded his first top-10 finish of the season. He wasn't able to duplicate the 62 he shot on Friday over the weekend but still managed to post 7 under for the tournament, good enough for a T6. "First tournament all year I kind of felt like myself again. I'm playing golf the way I used to," Snedeker said.
With the win, Dustin Johnson moved to second in the season-long FedExCup standings behind Justin Thomas. Andrew Putnam's runner-up finish vaulted him to 46th while J.B. Holmes' third-place showing slotted him at 76th.
Former University of Texas golfer Scottie Scheffler finished T43 in his first official TOUR start as a professional. Scheffler, who's playing without status at the moment, earned low amateur honors at the 2017 U.S. Open and won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur.
QUOTABLESBy the reaction from the crowd, I thought it might have gone in, but I couldn't see it so it was kind of tough. What a cool way to end.
Low round: Phil Mickelson, Austin Cook and Tim Herron shot 5-under 65.
Longest drive: Trey Mullinax with a 370-yard drive on the par-4 6th hole.
Longest putt: Austin Cook with a putt of 70 feet, 1 inch for birdie on the par-4 17th hole.
Hardest hole: The 453-yard par-4 18th, which played to a stroke average of 4.333, with one eagle and two birdies on Sunday.
Easiest hole: The 530-yard par-5 16th, which played to a stroke average of 4.486, with four eagles and 34 birdies on Sunday.
Greens in regulation: J.B. Holmes hit 16 greens at TPC Southwind.
CALL OF THE DAY
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SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Dustin Johnson's eagle finish for Shot of the Day