Two weeks ago, during the Charles Schwab Challenge, Johnson tried one putter. Nope. Missed cut. Last week, during the RBC Heritage, Johnson tried another putter. Better. Tied for 17th. Still nope. So there he was this week in Cromwell, Conn., with more options. Johnson whittled them eventually to two.
A TaylorMade Truss blade model won. The putter won the Travelers, too.
Johnson rode renewed greatness on the greens to a one-shot victory over Kevin Streelman on Sunday. Johnson hadn’t won since last year’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, but Sunday’s win gives him a victory every year since he turned pro in 2008, his 21st overall.
“It’s very exciting to get my 21st win and then get my first win of the season,” Johnson said. “It was big because I hadn’t played very well. But I put in a lot of good work the last couple weeks after Colonial, and so it’s nice to see the game just start coming around.”
Here are three things to know from Sunday’s fourth round at the Travelers Championship:
Dustin Johnson wins
Johnson entered the day two shots behind Brendon Todd, it took him five holes to draw even, and it took him nine holes to take it for good.
Then it took a resilient nine holes to win it.
Johnson birdied 8, 9 and 10 to get to 20 under and build a two-shot lead over Todd, and Johnson’s lead became three — over Will Gordon and Streelman — when Todd triple-bogeyed the 12th.
But in about 10 minutes, all on one hole, Johnson’s lead dropped to one. Streelman birdied the 13th to get within two shots, then Johnson hooked his tee shot on the 13th out of bounds on his way to a bogey. In about 15 minutes, he gained the shot back. He found the fairway on the par-4 14th, knocked his approach to within about 16 feet and dropped the putt. Thank you, new putter.
On the 294-yard, par-4 15th, Johnson tried to finesse his tee shot near the green, only to have it sail toward water on the left. It miraculously plugged in the muddy downslope. Johnson pulled up his pants and took off his socks and shoes to stand in the water to hit it out, and he was within about 4 feet after two shots. He sunk it. Thank you again, new putter.
On 18, his lead down to one after a bogey on 16, Johnson two-putted for par for a 3-under 67, a 19-under total and the win.
The club that won a tournament to start the week had just won a tournament at the end of the week.
Several tried to win
After an hour delay due to a storm, Johnson bogeyed the 16th, and Streelman had two chances to tie.
On 17, Streelman had a 26-foot putt, but it stopped a few rotations short. On 18, he hit his approach to within 36 feet, but he could not convert. He finished second by a shot.
Gordon, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, and Mackenzie Hughes, the first-round leader, finished two shots behind Johnson.
Brendon Todd loses it on 12
Todd entered the final round with a two-shot lead, but a no-birdie front nine saw Johnson pass him. A few others did, too, after his triple-bogey on the 12th.
Todd was just right and short of the green on his approach, then he hit five more shots. His third shot sailed over the green. His fourth shot was short of the green and tricked back down a slope. He putted his fifth, and it barely made it on. He two-putted from there.