DJ Shoots 68, Leads RBC Heritage by 1

Dustin Johnson is on top of the World Golf Rankings and the leaderboard in the 51st RBC Heritage.

DJ, seeking his 23rd professional victory and third this year, shot 3-under-par 68 in windy conditions and holds a one-stroke lead over Ian Poulter of England, Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia and Shane Lowry of Ireland heading to the final round at Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

“I’m really driving the ball well and that’s a key around here,” said Johnson, a South Carolina native who has won the Saudi International and the WGC-Mexico Championship in 2019.

“The wind made the golf course play much harder than the last two days. It was hard to make putts. I hit two that I thought were pretty good that didn’t go in on 16 and 17, and I made bogeys. It was difficult getting the ball close to the hole.

“It would be special to win in my home state, but there are still 18 holes to play and I need another good round.”

Johnson did sink a 47-foot putt on the 14th hole for the middle birdie in a string of three in a row, and finished 54 holes at 10-under 203.

Lowry, the leader after each of the first two rounds who came back to finish to holes in the morning after darkness halted the second round on Friday, held a three-stroke lead at one point in round three before making three bogeys on the last sox holes of a 71.

“Even making those bogeys, it was the best (position) I’ve been in a while,” said Lowry, who has struggled after winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, missing the cut in his last three outings including the Masters.

Poulter, coming off a tie for 12th in the Masters, made a double-bogey 6 on the first hole but played flawless the rest of the way in a second straight 67, while Sabbatini collected four birdies on the front nine in a 68.

Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA posted a bogey-free 66 that was low round of the day and is two shots back in a tie for fifth with Scott Piercy (68). C.T. Pan (69) of Taiwan, K.J. Choi (69) of South Korea, Emiliano Grillo (70) of Argentina and Trey Mullinax (71).

Matt Kuchar, the 2014 Heritage champion who also tied for 12th in the Masters, is tied for 11th after a 68, 2013 winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland shot 73 and is tied for 49th, ninth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State also had a 73 and is tied for 58th, and defending champion Satoshi Kodaira of Japan struggled to a 77 and is 69th, or next to last among those who made the cut.

Eighth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis missed the cut by one stroke, while seventh-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy and two-time Heritage champ Jim Furyk both missed by four.

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