Cleat Geeks

The 19th Hole: DJ wins again

The questions of why Dustin Johnson can’t win the biggest golf tournaments are getting replaced with questions of how many he might win, now that he’s broken through.DustinJohnsonWGC

The champion of last month’s U.S. Open, Johnson added another of golf’s prestigious titles Sunday, capturing the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.

Johnson closed like Mariano Rivera, firing back-to-back rounds of 66 on the weekend, including a strong back nine in Sunday’s final round that included birdies at 13, 14 and 17 that afforded him room to withstand a bogey on the final hole.

Meanwhile, world No. 1 Jason Day and Scott Piercy, the 54-hole co-leaders, weren’t able to match Johnson’s strong finish and faded in the closing holes.

Always known as one of the tour’s longest hitters, the putter is really starting to work for Johnson. He missed only one of 30 putts inside 10 feet for the week, including some critical makes on the back nine Sunday.

“You know, the last couple weeks my putter, I’m making the putts that I’m supposed to make,” Johnson said. “That’s the big difference in me finishing a lot of top fives that I’ve had this year to winning a few.”

The famous par five 16th proved the undoing for both Day and Jordan Spieth. Sunday, Day went from the left trees to the right trees to the pond in front of the green, made double bogey and was essentially out of it.

Spieth’s woes happened in Saturday’s third round with a triple-bogey 8. That was awfully costly in the end, as his 3-under par tie for 3rd finished him three shots behind Johnson.

And DJ, infamous for those sorts of collapses late in big events, was instead rock-solid down the stretch, watching the last few groups finish with his young son after posting his 6-under par score.

Piercy birdied the final hole to finish as runner-up, one shot back of Johnson at 5-under. It’s the same place he finished at the U.S. Open, also behind Johnson.

It’s the 11th career PGA Tour victory for Johnson, who is hitting stride in a month that sees two more major championships before July ends.

“It’s the first time I’ve won two tournaments in a row,” Johnson said. “I mean, that’s big. I’m excited and looking forward to going over to the British with the golf game in good form.”

This week’s PGA Tour event, the Greenbrier Classic, has been canceled due to the deadly flooding that hit the area in recent weeks. Many top players will tee it up in the European Tour’s Scottish Open, the final tuneup before the British Open July 14-17 at Troon.

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

Picks

Ding! Welcome back to the winner’s circle. Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

Dustin Johnson – He looks like he might win every week now, so maybe we’ll just keep picking him every week. 6-under, winner.

Adam Scott – It’s the best finish in a couple of months for the Aussie, who’s primed for a British Open run. Even par, tied for 10th.

Branden Grace – A solid final round for the South African gave him a top-10 finish. Even par, tied for 10th.

J.B. Holmes – Our longshot pick was the only real miss of the week, although he made some money with a closing 67. 4-over, tied for 27th.

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