DJ beats Spieth in Northern Trust playoff

Dustin Johnson, his year in the majors hijacked by a back injury, simply reestablished himself as the best golfer in the world.

DJ came from five strokes behind after five holes in the final round, shooting a bogey-free, 4-under-par 66 and then beating Jordan Spieth with a three-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole of The Northern Trust at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, N.Y.

“It was a tough day because Jordan is such a great competitor,” said Johnson, the top-ranked player in the world who regained the lead in the FedExCup standings by winning the playoff opener.

“I couldn’t buy a putt on the front nine, was burning the edges, but then I made a couple nice ones on 9 and 10. I made a great par save on the 18th hole get into the playoff and then made a great shot from about 95 yards to within three feet in the playoff.

“I feel good and my game is finally going in the right direction again, which gives me a lot of confidence moving forward in the playoffs.”

Johnson, who claimed his fourth victory of the season and tied Rory McIlroy for the lead with four titles in the playoffs, sank a 17-foot par putt on the final hole of regulation to tie Spieth at 13-under 267.

DJ claimed his 16th PGA Tour victory, but first since he captured the Genesis Open, the WGC-Mexico Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match play in consecutive outings early this season before sustaining a back injury on the eve of the Masters.

Spieth, who captured the Open Championship last month at Royal Birkdale, closed with a 69, opening the door for Johnson when he hit his tee shot into the water en route to a double-bogey 5 on the sixth hole before taking a bogey at No. 9.

Jon Rahm of Spain moved up to fifth in the FedExCup point standings by carding a 68 that left him four strokes back in a tie for third with Jhonattan Vegas, who moved to No. 10 in the points with a bogey-free 65.

Paul Casey of England totaled 71 to finish seven down in solo fifth, while Justin Thomas, who dropped from second to third in the point standings, recorded a 69 and was one more shot behind in a tie for sixth with Jason Day of Australia, who had a 67, Webb Simpson, who recorded a 65, and Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA, who came in at 70.

Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA shot 70 and was nine back in a tie for 10th with Louis Oosthuizen (69) of South Africa, Bubba Watson (70), Justin Rose (70) of England, Matt Kuchar (73), Robert Streb (69) and Chez Reavie (70).

Henrik Stenson of Sweden, the 2013 FedExCup champion, tied for 17th after a 69 and is 22nd in the point standings, Rickie Fowler of Murrieta totaled 70 and fell one spot to sixth in the standings with a tie for 20th, while McIlroy, defending FedExCup champion, tied for 34th with a 72 and is 43rd in the points.

McIlroy will defend his title this week in the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston.

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