World number one Dustin Johnson started with a par in Sunday’s final Masters round as he made his final attempt to win the green jacket for his second major title. Johnson, who started the round with a four-stroke lead, never converted a 54-hole lead into a major four-shot title, but sought to end the curse at Augusta National. The 36-year-old American, who grew up just an hour’s drive north of the course, is said to be the first Masters winner since Tiger Woods in 2002.
“If I want to win I’m going to have to come out and keep playing aggressively,” Johnson said on Saturday. “There are a lot of good players out there so I’m going to have to play really well.”
Johnson, whose only major victory came at the 2016 US Open, shot a bogeyless seven-under par 65 on Saturday to tie the course record for 54 holes of 16 under par 200.
This gave him a four-time advantage over South Korean Im Sung-jae, Australian Cameron Smith and Mexican Abraham Ancer, with South African Dylan Frittelli on 205 and world number three Justin Thomas sixth on 206.
The pursuers closest to Johnson only have one major victory between them, the 2017 PGA Championship win over American Thomas.
While Johnson has only lost majors by carrying a 54-hole lead, he has never enjoyed a margin as wide as Augusta National, which lacks its usual atmosphere with spectators banned as a measure. security Covid-19.
Johnson stumbled at the 2010, 2015 and 2018 US Open and in August at the 2020 PGA Championship, where he settled for a runner-up spot.
If he beats 70 on Sunday, Johnson would break the Masters 72-hole scoring record, the 270 under-18 set by Woods in 1997 and tied by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Johnson, the PGA Player of the Year, has won or finished second in five of his last six starts, including a Tour championship victory.
After finishing sixth at the US Open in September, he contracted Covid-19 last month and missed two events, but was a finalist last week in Houston.
Johnson, a finalist in three of the last six majors, including last year’s Masters, would silence criticism of his missed opportunities with a win.
But the challengers will try to emulate the record-breaking return of Jack Burke in the last round of the Masters in eight times in 1956.
Tiger, Rory well back
Quadruple major winner Rory McIlroy, who needed a green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam, started his final lap with two starts to stand on 8 under after the game started after a brief delay for the fog.
Defending champion Woods, who struggled with back problems to settle for a 72nd lap in the third round, birdied par 5 but took a bogey in the fifth and placed 5 under in the third round. total.
The 15-time major winner, five-time Masters champion, tied his best start at Augusta with a 68 but couldn’t threaten an 83rd career American PGA title to break the mark he shares with Sam Snead.
Im and Ancer, each making their Masters debut, could become the first newcomer to slip on the green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
Ancer, trying to become the first Mexican to win a major title, and Smith could become the first golfers to shoot four innings in the 1960s in 84 Masters editions.
I could only become the second Asian man to win a major crown after South Korean Yang Yong-eun won the 2009 PGA Championship.
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