World primary Dustin Johnson opened with a par in Sunday’s remaining spherical of the Masters as he launched his closing bid to seize the inexperienced jacket for his second main title. Johnson, who started the spherical with a four-stroke edge, has by no means transformed a 54-hole lead into a significant title in 4 makes an attempt, however appeared to finish the curse at Augusta Nationwide. The 36-year-old American, who grew up solely an hour’s drive north of the course, could be the primary top-ranked Masters winner since Tiger Woods in 2002.
“If I wish to win, I’ll need to exit and maintain taking part in aggressive,” Johnson mentioned on Saturday. “There are numerous good gamers on the market, so I’ll need to play rather well.”
Johnson, whose solely main win got here on the 2016 US Open, fired a bogey-free seven-under par 65 on Saturday to match the 54-hole course file of 16-under par 200.
That gave him a four-stroke edge over South Korea’s Im Sung-jae, Australian Cameron Smith and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, with South African Dylan Frittelli on 205 and world quantity three Justin Thomas sixth on 206.
These nearest pursuers to Johnson have just one main win between them, the 2017 PGA Championship victory by American Thomas.
Whereas Johnson has solely misplaced majors when carrying a 54-hole lead, he by no means loved as huge a margin as at Augusta Nationwide, which lacks its normal environment with spectators banned as a Covid-19 security measure.
Johnson stumbled on the 2010, 2015 and 2018 US Opens and in August on the 2020 PGA Championship, the place he settled for a runner-up spot.
If he breaks 70 on Sunday, Johnson would shatter the 72-hole Masters scoring file, the 18-under 270 set by Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Johnson, the PGA Participant of the Yr, has received or been second in 5 of his previous six begins, together with a victory on the Tour Championship.
After ending sixth on the US Open in September, he contracted Covid-19 final month and missed two occasions, however was a runner-up final week at Houston.
Johnson, a runner-up in three of the previous six majors together with final yr’s Masters, would silence critics of his missed alternatives with a victory.
However challengers will attempt to emulate the file eight-stroke Masters last-round successful comeback by Jack Burke in 1956.
Tiger, Rory nicely again
4-time main winner Rory McIlroy, needing a inexperienced jacket to finish a profession Grand Slam, started his remaining spherical with two pars to face on 8-under after play acquired underway following a quick delay for fog.
Defending champion Woods, who struggled with again points in settling for a third-round 72, birdied the par-5 second however took a bogey on the fifth and stood 5-under general.
The 15-time main winner, a five-time Masters champion, matched his greatest begin at Augusta with a 68 however couldn’t threaten for an 83rd profession US PGA title to interrupt the mark he shares with Sam Snead.
Im and Ancer, every making his Masters debut, might change into the primary newcomer to swipe the inexperienced jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
Ancer, attempting to change into the primary Mexican to win a significant title, and Smith might change into the primary golfers to shoot 4 rounds within the 60s in 84 editions of the Masters.
Im might change into solely the second Asian man to win a significant crown after South Korean Yang Yong-eun captured the 2009 PGA Championship.
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