Dustin Johnson pulls away from the field at Masters
Augusta, Georgia, Nov 14 (efe-epa).- World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson turned in a spectacular third round Saturday to take a four-stroke lead at The Masters.
“It’s definitely still a long way to go. Still got 18 more holes left. But I mean, it would mean a lot. What a great event – it’s The Masters, a major. I grew up right down the road. So this one would be very special to me,” the Columbia, South Carolina, native said after shooting a 7-under-par 65 at the Augusta National Golf Club.
At 36, Johnson has 23 PGA Tour victories to his credit, but only of those wins was in a major tournament, the 2016 US Open, and he come up short on three previous occasions going into the final round of a major with the lead.
“If I can play like I did today, I think it will break that streak. I mean, (Sunday), it’s just 18 holes of golf. I need to go out and play solid. I feel like I’m swinging really well. If I can just continue to give myself a lot of looks at birdie, I think I’ll have a good day,” he said.
The American is 16-under-par overall and has equaled the 54-hole best score at Augusta National, where his best finish came last year as runner-up to Tiger Woods.
Three players are tied at 12-under: Sungjae Im of South Korea, Mexico’s Abraham Ancer and Australian Cameron Smith. South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli trails Johnson by five.
Ancer, Smith and American Justin Thomas started the third round tied with Johnson at 9-under-par.
Im and Ancer are playing at The Masters for the first time. Smith was fifth at Augusta National in 2018.
The 44-year-old Woods, who thrilled the sports world at last year’s Masters by capturing his 15th major championship and his first title of that magnitude in 11 years, got off to a strong start with a 4-under on Thursday.
But he was up and down on Friday, canceling out his birdies on the par-5 second and eighth holes by making bogeys on the par-4 third and seventh holes.
Woods, who has won The Masters five times, shot an even-par 72 on Saturday to fall 11 shots behind the leader.
Asked about the prospect of putting the green jacket on the new Masters winner on Sunday, Woods replied: “I have not thought about tomorrow yet. I was focused on trying to get myself in contention going into tomorrow. We’ll see how emotional it’ll be after tomorrow’s round.” EFE