News & Opinion

2020 PGA: Dustin Johnson rolls into 3rd-round lead

Dustin Johnson 2020 PGA Championship 3rd round
Dustin Johnson applies a bit of body English in an effort to help shape a tee shot Saturday in the 3rd round of the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

American bomber shows his touch on the greens as he shoots 5-under 65 for a 9-under total and 1-stroke edge entering the final round at TPC Harding Park

Today’s final round of the 102nd PGA Championship is shaping up to be quite a shootout. Sixteen players are within four strokes of leader Dustin Johnson at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Johnson needed only 24 putts Saturday as he shot 5-under 65, matching the low round of the day, to move atop the leaderboard at 9-under 201. Johnson birdied three of his final five holes, shaking off a double bogey at the par-4 ninth, to open a one-stroke lead (scores).

“I putted really well,” Johnson said. “That was key. But I hit a lot of good shots to give myself some good looks, because the flags are tucked. The greens are firm and fast. So, I did hit a lot of quality iron shots.”

Johnson hit only seven of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens in regulation.

“I definitely need to hit some more fairways [Sunday],” he said, “because it's really tough playing this golf course from the rough.”

Johnson, 36, finished runner-up to Brooks Koepka in last year’s PGA at Bethpage Black. Johnson owns 21 PGA Tour victories, including the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He won the Travelers Championship on June 28 in the third event of the season restart on the PGA Tour’s revised 2020 schedule.

American Scottie Scheffler birdied Nos. 15-17 to get to 9 under before he failed to get up and down for par on the final hole. Still, he matched Johnson’s 65 to share second place with countryman Cameron Champ (67) at 8-under 202.

Johnson and Scheffler will be paired today in the final group, at 1:50 p.m. PDT (tee times).

Scheffler, 24, won twice last year on the Korn Ferry Tour as he was named the developmental circuit’s player of the year in earning a promotion to the PGA Tour. Champ, 25, who grew up in Sacramento, Calif., has won twice on the PGA Tour, including in September at the Safeway Open in Napa.

Collin Morikawa, a Californian who played college golf across the San Francisco Bay at Cal, birdied Nos. 15-17 to shoot 65 and share fourth place with England’s Paul Casey (68) and Koepka (71) at 7-under 203.

Koepka, the two-time defending champion, held a share of the lead briefly on the back nine at 8 under before he made three consecutive bogeys, at Nos. 13-15, to fall back. He birdied Nos. 16 and 18 to move within two shots of the lead.

Koepka will be chasing history Sunday. No player has won the same major championship three years in a row since the late Peter Thomson at the British Open in 1954-56. The late Walter Hagen holds the record for winning the most consecutive PGA Championships, with four (1924-27).

Bryson DeChambeau holed a 95-foot, 5-inch birdie putt on the 18th green to cap a 66 for a share of seventh place at 6-under 204.

Haotong Li, who held a two-stroke lead after 36 holes, found a fitting end to his day. His tee shot on the par-4 18th settled among goose excrement on the left edge of the fairway. Under Rule 15-1 (“Removal of Loose Impediment”), Li was allowed to remove the waste, which he did. He proceeded to make par for a 3-over 73 as he tumbled to T-13 at 5-under 205.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.