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Dustin Johnson Produces Masterclass to Secure Dominant Victory

By: | Mon 24 Aug 2020 | Comments

Dustin Johnson produced a masterclass to win the Northern Trust by an astonishing 11 shots. He closed out the tournament with a final round of 63 for a blistering 30 under par winning total. In the process, he reclaimed the world number one ranking and now leads the FedEx Cup standings.

Over the course of an incredible four days, the 36-year-old shot rounds of 67, 60, 64 and 63. During the second round, when fellow American Scottie Scheffler had a 59, Johnson was 11 under par for his first 11 holes.

And he finished the week with six birdies and an eagle to completely dominate the tournament. He is is the fifth man to claim the number one ranking this year. 

"I'd like to stay there for a little while," Johnson said. "Obviously it's been jumping around a bunch here the last few months, but the last time I was number one, I think I stayed there for quite some time, and that's another goal of mine... to see how long I can stay at number one.

"My ball-striking was unbelievable this week,” said Johnson, who at the end of 72 holes was ranked No. 1 in proximity to the flagstick with approaches. He also hit all 18 greens in regulation or better in the final round after hitting 15, 17 and 15 in the previous three rounds. He needed only 104 putts over the course of the week, led the field in strokes gained tee to green and was tied third in driving distance. It was a simply sensational performance.

Harris English was second with fellow American Daniel Berger third but this was a procession for Johnson.

England's Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton finished on 11 under with Ian Poulter two shots further behind and Tommy Fleetwood finishing on eight under.

Tiger Woods bounced back from his two-over 73 on Saturday with a five-under 66 for six under overall, while Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy shot a 69 to finish two under.

Johnson did not quite reach the heights of his Friday 60, but his final round featured an eagle on the par-five second before he reeled off another four birdies on the front nine to move further away from English. He picked up another shot on the 12th and then, after an hour-long weather delay, rounded off his victory with a birdie at the last.

This was the first of three events in the US circuit's FedEx Cup play-offs that will determine the PGA Tour champion for this season. The top 70 players in season points will advance to next week's BMW Championship, which will decide the 30 players to compete in next month's season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.

Johnson said he was determined to finish as the season's champion for the first time in his career. "It's something I've been close to winning a few times, and it's just something that I would really like to have on my resume when I'm done playing golf," he added. "It's a big title. It means a lot to all the guys out here. It definitely means a lot to me.”

Five players who were outside the Top 70 earned their way into next week’s BMW Championship, but no one did it more dramatically than Louis Oosthuizen. When torrential rain fell, the South African was in the fairway at 18, knowing he needed birdie to get the 70th and final spot. He rifled a three-iron 235 yards and found the green and duly two-putted

Four-over on his round through 13 holes, Oosthuizen birdied the par-three 16th to give him a chance to make it through to the BMW.

The other four players who started outside the Top 70 but moved in were Robbie Shelton; Alex Noren (68 –269, T8), who went from 78th to 47th; Harry Higgs (71 – 270, T-11), who went from 72nd to 48th; and Jason Kokrak (65 – 271, T13), who quietly earned his way into the BMW for a third straight year in 66th position.

European Tour

IT HAS been a while coming, but Frenchman Romain Langasque finally lived up to his huge promise, overturning a five-shot deficit to win the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

The Frenchman, 25, carded six birdies in a closing 65 to claim his first European Tour title.

Langasque finished on eight under par, two shots ahead of Finland's Sami Valimaki, with Englishmen David Dixon and Matthew Jordan a shot further back.

The win also secured Langasque a US Open debut in September and he was thrilled. "Everything in golf can go so quick," he said. "I'm really happy. This is where we all want to be. Now I'll have some good opportunities. I need to focus again, but it's where I'm looking forward to go. 

"Playing my first US Open this year, the good thing is with no public there's less pressure on it being my first one. I'm really proud of myself.

"I had so many birdie opportunities and the second shot on 16 and the tee shot on 17 were my two best shots of the week. It's one of the first times I didn't really feel the pressure because I was really focused on every shot and the first I felt pressure was the wedge to 18 because I was looking to have a longer shot.

"It was not easy because I was too close and the two-putt was under pressure but before that I was really cool."

Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg needed to birdie the 18th to force a play-off but ran up a triple-bogey eight after spinning his third shot back into the water.

Langasque holed from 30 feet on the third hole and 20 feet on the sixth to close on the leaders. A birdie on the par-five ninth saw him move into a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, and back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th pushed him to victory as others faltered.

Scotland's Connor Syme, who shared the overnight lead with Soderberg, also found the water on the last to double bogey and slip into a tie for eighth but he, too, will be heading to the US Open. Ten spots were available through a mini order of merit on the UK Swing and they were claimed by Langasque, Syme, Valimaki, Justin Harding, Adrian Otaegui, Sam Horsfield, Thomas Detry, Andy Sullivan, Rasmus Hojgaard and Renato Paratore.

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