Dustin Johnson emphatically clinched the victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, a win that takes him back to the top of the world rankings.
‘What a cool way to end the day,’ Johnson said, after watching his ball drop for eagle from 170 yards on the final hole for a six-stroke victory.
Johnson shot a four-under 66 for his second PGA Tour victory this season and 18th of his career to take back the No 1 ranking he held for 64 straight weeks before dropping down a month ago. He won the event for the second time, finishing with the eagle, three birdies and a bogey for a 19-under 261 total.
Andrew Putnam started the final round with a share of the lead for the first time in his career. He shot 72 and finished at 13 under.
Preparing for the US Open, Johnson took the lead by himself with a par on the 1st – while Putnam double-bogeyed – and cruised to the $1.18-million winner’s check. Johnson turned in the lowest score under par by a winner here since David Toms won at 20 under in 2003, and that was before the course was redesigned with par dropped from 71 to 70 after the 2004 tournament.
Johnson, who won the US Open in 2016, heads to Shinnecock Hills after stringing together four straight rounds in the 60s. He went 67, 63 and 65 before wrapping up a final round that felt almost like a practice round with everyone wondering how low he would go.
At least until his dramatic walk-off eagle. Johnson was in the intermediate rough to the right of the fairway, and the ball bounced twice before rolling into the cup to bring fans to their feet.
JB Holmes (67) was at nine under. Stewart Cink (72) and Richy Werenski (71) were tied at eight under. Brandt Snedeker (70) and Retief Goosen (66) tied four others at seven under.
Phil Mickelson had a 65 and was at six under.
Johnson worked on keeping the ball in the fairway, hitting 3-wood off the tee on the first of the course’s two par fives. Even with the 3-wood, Johnson had the second-longest drive of the day, hitting 333 yards on the 554-yard hole.
Even when Johnson three-putted the 5th to drop to 15 under, Putnam also bogeyed, protecting Johnson’s lead at three strokes. Putnam pulled within two strokes with a birdie on the 7th, rolling a putt 11 feet after Johnson parred the hole.
Johnson hit an iron 307 yards off the tee at the 10th. After hitting iron off the tee at the 12th and going left of the cart path, Johnson saved par with a 16-foot putt to protect his two-stroke lead. Then Johnson hit a drive 359 yards on the par-four 13th, leaving him 95 yards to the pin. Johnson then hit his approach to three feet for his second birdie to go 16 under.
He previewed his dramatic finish on the par-five 16th. Johnson’s tee shot found the trees right of the fairway, and he threaded a shot through a couple trees to just off the green. He chipped to five feet and birdied for a four-stroke lead.
Credit: PGA TOUR