Dustin Johnson ‘capitalizes’ at the Northern Trust to win at TPC Boston
Brooks Koepka was right. Dustin Johnson was right.
A little over two weeks ago, Johnson led the PGA Championship after three rounds. Koepka questioned whether Johnson would lead after four rounds.
“I was glancing at the leaderboard, and of the 10 guys that are up there, there’s been what, three majors?” Koepka told the Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis. “DJ has been in this spot a couple of times, and he hasn’t been able to capitalize.”
Johnson didn’t. He finished tied for second and two shots behind.
This week, before the Northern Trust, Johnson responded, “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t bother me. He can think whatever he wants.”
He was right. He was right.
He didn’t capitalize at the PGA. He crushed the Northern Trust. Johnson shot a 4-under 67 in the first round, then trampled TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., over the next three rounds. He shot an 11-under 60 in the second round, including a 9-under front nine, a 7-under 64 in the third round and a 8-under 63 in the final round for a 30-under total, an 11-shot victory and his 22nd career win.
Harris English finished second at 19-under. Any other week, that would have won. Daniel Berger was third at 18-under, and Kevin Kisner and Scottie Scheffler tied for fourth at 17-under. Any other week that would have been second and third. Johnson’s total tied for the second-best score over 72 holes in relation to par since 1950, when records began. In 2003, Ernie Els finished 31-under at the Mercedes Championships, and in 2016, Jordan Spieth finished 30-under at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Johnson was right.
The five key shots
- Entering the day with a five-shot lead over English, Johnson eagles the par-5 2nd hole, while English birdies, to move to 24-under and build a six-shot lead.
- Johnson birdies the par-4 5th to move to 26-under and build a seven-shot lead over English.
- Johnson and English each birdie the par-5 7th and the par-3 8th. Johnson moves to 28-under and keeps his seven-shot lead.
- Johnson birdies the par-4 12th, while English bogeys, to move to 29-under and build a nine-shot lead.
- At 6:10 p.m., play was suspended due to storms in the Norton, Mass., area. Six players were on the course – Johnson, English, Berger, Scottie Scheffler, Louis Oosthuizen and Harry Higgs. About an hour later, play resumed. On the par-5 18th hole, Johnson birdies, while English bogeys, to move to 30-under and finish with an 11-shot win.
- Johnson is peaking at the most critical stretch of this rescheduled season. Next week is the BMW Championship, the second week of the FedEx Cup playoffs. In two weeks is the Tour Championship. In four weeks is the U.S. Open. Johnson looks to contend at all.
- Tiger Woods also looked right. Or right-ish. He opened with a 3-under 68 and followed up with rounds of even-par 71 and 2-over 73 before shooting a 5-under 66 on Sunday, his lowest score this year. He shot 5-under on the front nine, including four straight birdies to start his round, before shooting even-par on the back nine.
- Everyone actually looked right. Everyone went low. On Friday, Justin Thomas said he could see a 56 or a 57 on Tour soon. He’s not wrong.
The last word
“Yes, that’s the type of talent he is. He can absolutely dismantle a golf course when he’s on and lead the field in putting. Obviously, he drives it straight, and hard to believe, the further on Tour. So when you add those two up, pretty much unstoppable. I’ve been watching it for 25 years. I’m pretty accustomed to it. When he’s on, I just step to the side and try to add on to my bank account.” – Kisner on Johnson