GOLF: Johnson finds stride, swagger
DORAL, Fla. (AP) – Dustin Johnson hit his stride and found his swagger Saturday on the back nine of the Blue Monster at Doral to emerge with a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Cadillac Championship.
Johnson hit what he called a “bunt drive” some 310 yards on the 17th and hit wedge to 2 feet for the last of his eight birdies. Just as importantly, he played the 18th hole without drama to finish with a 7-under 65.
He was at 13-under 203, although eight players are separated by three shots heading into the last day. All of those eight players are among the top 31 in the world ranking.
That group does not include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who finished before the leaders teed off and remain out of the mix. The surprise is that it doesn’t include Martin Kaymer, either. The new No. 1 was in the final group with Hunter Mahan, one shot out of the lead, until he took double bogey from the water on the third hole and struggled to a 74. Kaymer was seven shots back.
Johnson will play in the final group with Luke Donald, who took bogey on the final hole for a 66. Even so, Donald is in good position to capture a second straight World Golf Championship, and a victory could be enough to make him No. 2 in the world.
Nick Watney, who lost a duel at Doral with Mickelson two years ago, was tied for the lead until a sloppy finish. Watney missed birdie putts of 7 feet on the 16th and 6 feet on the 17th, then pulled his tee shot into the water on the closing hole for a double bogey. Instead of leading, he had to settle for a 68 and was among those trying to chase down Johnson. Watney, Donald and Matt Kuchar (68) were 11 under.
Woods and Mickelson, playing for the third straight day together, didn’t inspire.
Woods switched back to a mallet putter – the same one he tried in Australia last year – and the best he could manage was a 2-under 70 that left him 11 shots behind. Mickelson had a sloppy double bogey on the 14th and wound up with a 72, putting him at even-par 216.
Puerto Rico Open
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) – Troy Matteson shot a 6-under 66 in the Puerto Rico Open to open a three-shot lead as he goes after the third PGA Tour victory.
Matteson seized control by matching the best score of the day, finishing with seven birdies and a bogey to reach 16 under at Trump International Golf Club.
Hunter Haas was second after his second straight 68.
Michael Bradley was third at 12 under after a 68. Major champion Angel Cabrera (69) was 10 under along with Chris Tidland (72), Brendon de Jonge (67), Brandt Jobe (67) and George McNeill (71).
Stewart Cink was 5 under after a 74.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Nick Price followed his record-tying first round with a 3-under 68 at Newport Beach Country Club to take a two-stroke lead in the Toshiba Classic.
The 54-year-old Price had four birdies and a bogey a day after matching the Champions Tour record with a career-best 11-under 60. Seeking his fourth victory on the 50-and-over tour, Price had a tournament-record 14-under 128 total.
Mark Wiebe was second after his second straight 65. Joe Ozaki (64) and Mark O’Meara (67) were 10 under, and defending champion Fred Couples (67) was 9 under along with Michael Allen (64) and Tom Pernice Jr. (65).
Bernard Langer, tied for second after an opening 65, had a 73 to drop into a tie for 34th at 4 under.
Ian Baker-Finch struggled again in his Champions Tour debut, following an opening 74 with a 79.