Dustin Johnson will be working on Labor Day, but he stands to be paid a good bit more than the standard time-and-a-half holiday rate.
Johnson will take a five-stroke lead into Monday’s final round of the Tour Championship, and the $15 million bonus that will go to the winner would appear to be his to lose. Johnson shot 6-under 64 on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta to post a 19-under total through 54 holes of the PGA Tour’s season finale (scores). Under the weighted scoring system used with the FedEx Cup standings, which Johnson leads, he started the week at 10 under and with a two-stroke lead.
Justin Thomas shot 66 to share second place with Xander Schauffele, who posted a 67, at 14 under. Schauffele, who started the week at 3 under, actually has posted the lowest score for 54 holes, at 11-under 199. But the $45 million bonus pool will be divided to the finishers based on the weighted system.
Johnson played a nearly flawless round Sunday after struggling off the tee a day earlier. He made seven birdies, including a 9-footer on the last hole, against a lone bogey, a three-putt at the par-3 11th.
“Obviously, the game is in good form,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in everything I’m doing right now. And yeah, I’ve played well over the last four events, and I’m comfortable in the spot that I’m in.”
Johnson will be paired with Schauffele at 1:55 p.m. ET Monday in the final two-ball in the 30-man event (tee times).
If Johnson were to remain on top at the end of Monday’s play, he would post his third victory of the season and the 23rdof his career, boosting his prospects for PGA Tour player of the year. Thomas has won three times this year, but his titles at the CJ Cup, Tournament of Champions and the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational might not measure up against Johnson’s Travelers Championship and what could be two playoff victories, the Northern Trust two weeks ago and, should it happen Monday, the Tour Championship.
And then there’s the fact that Johnson sits atop the Official World Golf Ranking and the Tour’s standings.
Asked after the round whether he thought that he was the best player in the world, Johnson didn’t hesitate.
“I do,” he said. “And I think the stats show that, too.”
No. 1 in the world, No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings and, with one round to play, No. 1 by five strokes in the Tour Championship.
If anybody thinks differently, he had better play well Monday. Very well.
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