Johnson’s late slip at Tour Championship gives McIlroy a sniff
In-form Dustin Johnson’s late mistake on the 17th hole at the Tour Championship on Saturday allowed his rivals to play catch up, leaving the tournament and the FedEx Cup finely poised ahead of the final day.
The US Open Champion, fresh from victory at the BMW Championship, had looked to be running away with things, holding a four shot lead with just two holes to play at East Lake.
Then on the 17th hole, Johnson clipped a tree shooting out of the rough and ended up with a double bogey, a three-shot swing that threw his nearest rival Kevin Chappell back into the mix after he birdied the same hole.
Johnson recovered with a birdie on the par-five 18th to finish the day at eight under, level with Chappell.
"This course is very difficult off the tee and I missed a couple of drives on the back nine and made a couple of bogeys and a bad double bogey there on 17," said Johnson.
"I'm happy with my position. I felt like I played well today. A couple of loose drives and it's easy to make bogeys around here … so if I make a mistake I don't let it bother me."
Johnson’s late slip also left the door open for FedEx Cup rival Rory McIlroy, who is tied for third place with American Ryan Moore two shots back at six under.
Johnson, the top seed in the FedExCup standings, will win the season-long points race and the US$10 million bonus if he triumphs on Sunday.
McIlroy needs to win and have Johnson finish in a two way tie for second to usurp him from the top of the FedEx pile.
‘‘I just need to try and win this golf tournament, and whatever happens after that, happens,’’ McIlroy said after his round.
‘‘It would just be great to try to win the Tour Championship, and if the chips fall my way, then so be it.’’
JT Poston takes two-shot lead at John Deere Classic
The 29-year-old also became the first player on record to open consecutive Tour events with 62 or better.
Ryan Fox surprised to be leading after opening round of Horizon Irish Open
The New Zealander carded a flawless 64 to set the pace at Mount Juliet.
Defiant Lee Westwood does not believe playing in LIV should harm Ryder Cup hopes
Westwood doesn’t agree with penalties and sanctions.
Shane Lowry welcomes closer ties between Tours in response to threat from LIV
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced the next phase of their strategic alliance.
Padraig Harrington fears LIV series poses threat to future of DP World Tour
The US Senior Open champion thinks there is only room for the PGA and one other tour in the world game.
Steve Stricker makes Padraig Harrington sweat as Irishman wins US Senior Open
The pair were rival captains in last year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.
R&A confirms LIV Golf Series players will be allowed to compete at Open
The 150th Open Championship will get underway at St Andrews in three weeks’ time.