Top-ranked Dustin Johnson is well aware of what happened the last time he held a 54-hole lead and he’s not in the least bit concerned about it.
Johnson shot 7-under-par 66 in the third round to take a two-stroke lead over Brian Harman in the Sentry Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui in Hawaii.
DJ held a six-stroke lead after three rounds of WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai last October, but closed with a 77 and tied for second behind Justin Rose of England.
“I think that was just a fluke because I was playing with new irons and wasn’t very comfortable,” said Johnson, who won at Kapalua in 2013. “I feel good on this course and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
“I played pretty much the same as the last three days. I’m really driving the ball well, I hit a lot of good iron shots and I’m really rolling the ball well. I’m going to follow the same game plan as the last three days tomorrow and just try to execute.”
Johnson, who holed his second shot from 72 yards for an eagle on the 12th hole and added six birdies against a single bogey, posted a 54-hole score of 16-under 203.
Harman, who shared the 36-hole lead, hit a brilliant approach to within two feet to set up an eagle on the fifth hole and added three birdies on the last five holes in a 69, while fourth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain highlighted his bogey-free 66 with an eight-foot eagle putt at No. 15 and is four shots back in third.
Seventh-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta carded a bogey-free 68 and is another stroke down in a tie for fourth with Jason Dufner, who had a 69, while Pat Perez of San Diego shot 71 and is six in a tie for sixth with Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, who also had a 71.
Chris Stroud is another shot behind in eighth after a 72, while second-ranked Jordan Spieth, the 2016 Kapalua winner, totaled 70 and is eight back in a tie for ninth with Daniel Berger, who had a 68, and Billy Horschel, who came in at 70.
Defending champion and third-ranked Justin Thomas is a whopping 18 strokes behind at 30th in the 34-player field after a second straight 75.
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