HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Dustin Johnson, famous for length off a tee, showed off his accurate ball-positioning and prohibited dabble Saturday to take a RBC Heritage lead.
Johnson shot a 3-under 68 for a one-shot lead over Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter and Rory Sabbatini.
The top-ranked Johnson, a South Carolina local who had not played his home state’s customarily PGA Tour stop for 9 years before returning in 2018, seems to have found a home on Harbour Town Golf Links’ slight fairways and smallish greens. He had his sixth turn in a 60s over a final dual years to strech 10 under.
“I’m unequivocally enjoying personification in it,” Johnson said. “I unequivocally enjoyed personification in it final year after being divided for so long. It’s something we demeanour brazen to now. We have a unequivocally large fan bottom here and flourishing adult in South Carolina really helps.”
Lowry led a initial 48 holes before creation 3 bogeys on his final 6 holes in a 71. Poulter shot a 67, and Sabbatini had a 68.
Patrick Cantlay kept adult his stellar weekend play and was dual shots behind. Cantlay shot 64-68 final week during a Masters and had a 66 to lead a organisation of 6 during 8 under.
Johnson, who’s won 20 PGA Tour titles, showed off other tools of his diversion that infrequently get ignored by his large drives. He saved standard out of a hunger straw after a bad expostulate to a right and into a trees on a 12th hole, afterwards done birdie on a par-5 15th after putting his tee shot in a woods. He strike customarily 5 of 14 fairways, nonetheless had customarily 25 putts.
“The march played tough. It was really challenging,” he said. “It was tough removing balls tighten to a hole.”
So Johnson customarily done a garland of prolonged putts. He had a 20-footer for birdie on a sixth hole and a 19-footer for birdie on a 13th. The prominence came during No. 14 when Johnson forsaken a 47-foot explosve that hold a mouth of a crater and rolled roughly all a approach around before dropping.
Was there some tip to Johnson’s play?
“No,” he said, “they customarily went in.”
If he can keep it adult Sunday, Johnson will turn customarily a second South Carolina innate actor to win a RBC Heritage, fasten crony and one-time Dutch Fork High golf teammate Wesley Bryan, who became a initial to do it dual years ago.
Johnson won a World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in Feb and tied for second final week in a Masters.
Lowry was a steadiest of anyone for a initial 2 1/2 rounds and hold a three-stroke lead over Johnson entering a behind 9 before faltering. The Irishman came adult brief on a silt shot on a 13th hole and took bogey. He put his tee shot into a H2O on a par-3 14th for a second true bogey. Two holes later, Lowry combined his third spook after going a initial 48 holes with customarily one.
“Even creation those bogeys, it was a best I’ve been in a while (to stay in position for a victory),” he said.
Lowry was among 56 competitors who had to finish a rain-delayed second turn in a morning.
Poulter is seeking a bit of payback on Harbour Town after final year. He was a 54-hole personality with 3 sub-70 rounds before ballooning to a 75 on Sunday. He non-stop his third turn this time with a double-bogey 6, though rallied with 6 birdies a rest of a approach to stay close.
Sabbatini strung together 9 true pars to tighten his round.
Cantlay bounced behind after putting adult a 72 in a second turn with a bogey-free round. He pronounced he’s kept a good mindset he had with his play during Augusta National final week.
“Playing that good on a weekend was apparently huge,” he said. “I feel like we customarily play good and tighten strong.”