Dustin Johnson reclaims world’s top spot with St. Jude win

  • Dustin Johnson watches his drive on the seventh hole during the final round of the St. Jude Classic golf tournament Sunday, June 10, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dustin Johnson is back in his spot as the world’s top-ranked golfer thanks to a dominant victory capped by an absolutely amazing hole-out for eagle.

“What a cool way to end the day,” Johnson said.

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Johnson shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday making the St. Jude Classic his second PGA Tour victory this year and 18th of his career to take back the No. 1 ranking he held for 64 straight weeks before falling to No. 2 behind Justin Thomas a month ago . Johnson won the event for the second time, finishing with the eagle, three birdies and a bogey for a 19-under 261 total.

“It means a lot,” Johnson said of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking. “It was a long way to get there, and I held it for a long time and obviously JT took it from me for a little while. It was nice to finish like that and get it back.”

Andrew Putnam started the final round with a share of the lead for the first time in his career. He shot 72 and finished at 13 under.

“I feel like I steadied the ship a little bit after a rough start,” said Putnam, who secured his card for the year with his best finish yet.

Preparing for the U.S. Open, Johnson took the lead to himself with a par on No. 1, while Putnam double-bogeyed, and cruised to the $1.18 million winner’s check. Johnson turned in the lowest score under par by a winner here since David Toms at 20 under in 2003 — before the course was redesigned dropping par from 71 to 70 after the 2004 tournament.

Johnson, who won the U.S. Open in 2016, heads to Shinnecock Hills after stringing together four straight rounds in the 60s. He went 67, 63 and 65 before wrapping up a final round that felt almost like a practice round with the only question remaining how low Johnson would go until his final dramatic shot.

Nobody has ever won on the PGA Tour and followed by winning the U.S. Open. The way Johnson’s playing, he sees no reason why he couldn’t be the first.

“I know what it takes,” Johnson said. “I’m going to have to play a lot like I did this week if I want to win next week.”

Topping his walk-off eagle won’t be easy. In the intermediate rough to the right of the fairway, Johnson hit 9-iron and watched as the ball bounced twice before rolling into the cup to bring fans to their feet. Johnson said he couldn’t tell if the ball went in for a few seconds.

“Luckily I did watch him hit that last shot and that was pretty special, so that was fun to see,” Putnam said of Johnson’s eagle.

J.B. Holmes (67) was at 9 under. Stewart Cink (72) and Richy Werenski (71) tied at 8 under. Brandt Snedeker (70) and Retief Goosen (66) tied four others at 7 under.

Phil Mickelson had a 65 and was at 6 under.

Putnam, a two-time winner on the Web.com Tour, had only one bogey through his first three rounds. He pushed his opening tee shot into the right rough and his approach in the rough left of the green. He wound up three-putting for double bogey. Johnson rolled in a 4-footer for par and a two-stroke lead at 15 under on a sizzling day with the temperature feeling like 99.

Johnson worked on keeping the ball in the fairway, hitting 3-wood off the tee on the first of the course’s two par 5s. Even with the 3-wood, Johnson had the second-longest drive of the day, hitting 333 yards on the 554-yard hole.

Even when Johnson three-putt No. 5 to drop to 15 under, Putnam also bogeyed protecting Johnson’s lead at three strokes. Putnam pulled within two strokes with a birdie on No. 7, rolling a putt 11 feet after Johnson parred the hole.

Johnson hit an iron 307 yards off the tee at No. 10 . After hitting iron off the tee at No. 12 and going left of the cart path, Johnson saved par with a 16-foot putt to protect his two-stroke lead. Then Johnson hit a drive 359 yards on the par-4 No. 13, leaving him 95 yards to the pin. Johnson then hit his approach to 3 feet for his second birdie to go 16 under.

He previewed his dramatic finish on the par-5 16th. Johnson’s tee shot found the trees right of the fairway, and he threaded a shot through a couple trees to just off the green. He chipped to 5 feet and birdied for a four-stroke lead.

LPGA TOUR

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Annie Park won the ShopRite LPGA Classic for her first LPGA Tour victory, closing with an 8-under 63 for a one-stroke victory over Sakura Yokomine.

The 23-year-old Park, from Levittown, New York, had an eagle and six birdies on a cloudy day over the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview to complete 54 holes at 16-under 197, a stroke off the tournament record.

Yokomine, the winner of 23 events on the Japan LPGA Tour, flirted with a 59 but parred the par-5 18th for a 61 to tie the course record.

New Jersey native Marina Alex was third at 14 under after a 64. She made a hole-in-one at the par-3 17th. Sei Young Kim, who broke the course record Sunday morning when she finished her second round with back-to-back birdies for a 61, had a 70 to finish fourth at 13 under.

Park won the 2013 NCAA individual title as a freshman at Southern California and helped the Trojans take the team crown.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

DES MOINES, Iowa — Tom Lehman won the Principal Charity Classic when final-round play was washed out at Wakonda Club.

Tournament officials delayed the start of the third round by nearly five hours because of bands of light but persistent rain before calling the event.

The 59-year-old Lehman shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to reach 13 under and take a two-shot lead over Bernhard Langer, Glen Day, Woody Austin and Scott Parel. From neighboring Minnesota, Lehman won for the 11th time on the 50-and-over tour.

EUROPEAN TOUR

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ATZENBRUGG, Austria — Mikko Korhonen of Finland won the inaugural Shot Clock Masters by six strokes for his first European Tour title.

Korhonen closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 16 under. Connor Syme of Scotland, who only turned professional in September, holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 69 to finish second. The event was the first on the tour with a 40-second shot clock for most strokes.