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From the fairway, Johnson builds 5-shot lead at East Lake

From the green, Johnson builds 5-shot lead at East Lake

ATLANTA (AP) — Dustin Johnson watched his opening drive sail lengthy and fall gently to the appropriate, identical to he imagined. So did the subsequent drive. It was like that every one day at East Lake, and the end result was predictable.

Johnson is taking part in the very best golf and appears harder than ever to beat.

When he completed with a 10-foot birdie, Johnson matched the low spherical Sunday with a 6-under 64 to construct a five-shot lead over Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele within the Tour Championship, leaving him one spherical away from the FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize.

“I’ve bought lots of confidence in every thing I’m doing proper now,” Johnson stated.

A fast repair on the vary the earlier night was all he wanted to get straightened out. Johnson missed solely three fairways, and never by a lot. He putted for birdie on all however three holes and made seven of them.

“He’s showcased what he can do,” Schauffele stated. “If he does what he usually does, it’s going to be nearly not possible to catch him.”

Regular nowadays for Johnson have to be daunting for everybody else.

He was at 19-under par, making this his 4 consecutive begin with at the very least a share of the 54-hole lead. He transformed a kind of into an 11-shot victory on the TPC Boston. He misplaced to a 65 by Collin Morikawa within the PGA Championship and o a 65-foot putt by Jon Rahm in a playoff final week at Olympia Fields.

“We’re going to want Dustin to throw us a bone and never have day,” stated Rahm, who was six photographs again.

Johnson is aware of higher than anybody that it’s not over. He had a six-shot lead in Shanghai three years in the past and didn’t win, although he had a brand new set of irons and was coming off a five-week break. He additionally had a five-shot lead at The Northern Belief two weeks in the past and obliterated the course and the sphere to win by 11.

“If he hits the ball like everyone is aware of he can and the best way he’s placing … I haven’t seen him putt that effectively in a very long time,” Harris English stated. “It’s exhausting to cease.”

Solely 4 gamers have an inexpensive likelihood of catching him.

Schauffele, a big-game participant who gained the Tour Championship three years in the past, dropped just one shot on the entrance 9 and completed with a 10-foot birdie putt for a 67 that put him within the ultimate group with Johnson.

Thomas missed a 16-inch par putt on the tenth gap that he carelessly went to faucet in, bounced again with a 25-foot birdie putt on the hardest par 3 at East Lake and made two extra birdies coming for a 66.

They have been at 14 below.

“DJ is clearly taking part in effectively. It wasn’t straightforward right now,” Thomas stated. “It’s nonetheless East Lake. However something can occur round this course. You’ll be able to shoot 63 or 64 and you may shoot 73 or 74 very simply. I simply must hope that tomorrow is my 63 or 64.”

Rahm has had a wild week. He opened with a 65, adopted with a 74 and bounced again with a 66. He performed bogey-free and his spherical solely felt higher when he completed with two birdies.

“The one good factor I’ve going for me is we’re right here to win, so tomorrow is a inexperienced gentle for every thing,” Rahm stated.

Morikawa rallied with 5 birdies on the again 9 to salvage a tough begin for a 67. He was seven behind.

Daniel Berger additionally had a 64, however he made up no floor on Johnson was remained 9 behind. Additionally at 10-under was Sungjae Im, who performed within the ultimate group with Johnson and should have questioned what hit him. Im shot 72.

The FedEx Cup has been on Johnson’s thoughts ever since he squandered an important likelihood to win it in 2016.

He went into the ultimate spherical that yr tied for the lead after which couldn’t discover a fairway, closing with a 73. He nonetheless had an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup when it was primarily based on factors. Just one participant might have crushed him that day and it was Rory McIlroy, who holed a shot from the green on the sixteenth for eagle after which gained in a three-way playoff.

Johnson strikes on from wins and losses, regardless of how excessive or how crushing. Even so, he thinks about that day, primarily as a result of the FedEx Cup is stuffed with massive names and his isn’t amongst them but.

“To be the FedEx Cup champion is one thing that I wish to do. It’s one thing that I would like on my resume after I give up taking part in golf,” he stated. “Yeah, it means lots to me. So sure, I do wish to win this match. … I had an opportunity to win it just a few years in the past. I couldn’t management profitable by my golf. Tomorrow, I do.”

McIlroy gained’t be within the combine this yr. He was strolling off the seventeenth tee and appeared again at Johnson heading to the 14th, a 512-yard par 4 and the hardest at East Lake. Johnson already was 10 photographs forward of him, after which smashed a drive down the green and made a 15-foot birdie putt.

McIlroy birdied the seventeenth to salvage a 70. He was 11 photographs again.

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