54-hole lead remains a major problem for Dustin Johnson
The 54-hole lead has been a major problem for Dustin Johnson.
The 2016 U.S. Open winner entered the final round of the PGA Championship atop the leaderboard and shot 68 on Sunday. But he wound up tied for second behind first-time major winner Collin Morikawa.
Johnson is now 0 for 4 after taking at least a share of the lead into the final round of a major.
This one didn’t have the drama of some of his previous major losses, both of the squandered lead and failed comeback variety — the grounded club in the bunker at Whistling Straits, the three-putt from 12 feet at Chambers Bay.
Instead, it was just a slow, relatively routine ride to second place.
Johnson finished Saturday with a one-shot lead at 9 under and made the turn at minus-10. But he failed to birdie the par-5 10th — three-putting from 17 feet — after most of the competition had done just that.
By the time he reached No. 14, he had fallen behind by a stroke, thanks to Morikawa’s chip-in on that very hole moments earlier.
Johnson couldn’t match him — not even close. He drove into the rough, hit his approach into the sand and had to punch out sideways, leaving him 34 feet from the hole. By the time he had tapped in for bogey, he trailed by two.
About 10 minutes later, Morikawa drove the green on the par-4 16th and made his eagle putt, and from there, it was a race for second.
Johnson’s lone major victory had two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka dissing him on Saturday, saying he felt good going into the final round because “DJ’s only won one.” Rory McIlroy came to Johnson’s defense, noting Johnson has 21 career wins to Koepka’s seven.
“If you’ve won a major championship, you’re a hell of a player,” said McIlroy, who has won four. “Sort of hard to knock a guy that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”
Koepka started the day at 7 under, two strokes behind Johnson, but failed to capitalize, shooting 39 on the front nine.
Johnson couldn’t close the deal, either, but he did close strong.
Down by four strokes with three to play, Johnson had to take a penalty drop on the par-4 16th when he drove into a hazard to the left of the green. But he chipped in from 50 yards away to make birdie, joining the logjam at 10 under.
Then on No. 18, Johnson sank a 17-foot birdie putt to tie Paul Casey for second.
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