Column: Dustin Johnson no longer intimidating as a closer

SHANGHAI (AP) — No one ever can tell what’s going by Dustin Johnson’s conduct by looking during him. His countenance was a same during a HSBC Champions when he was building a six-shot lead on Saturday and when he was losing it on Sunday.

Leave a emotions of a surreal impulse to Henrik Stenson.

Suddenly one shot behind, Stenson drilled his 4-wood usually brief of a immature during a par-4 16th and as he stood by his golf bag, he incited to a right and widened his eyes as distant as they would go. It was a demeanour that suggested, “What’s going on here?”

Johnson certain didn’t have many answers.

He left a 18th immature with a same stoic countenance that he had on a initial tee when he began a final turn with a six-shot lead. Instead of going to a prize display on a third-floor patio of a HSBC apartment above a 18th immature during Sheshan International, Johnson went into a scoring room to pointer for a 77.

It was his tip shutting turn with a 54-hole lead given his 82 during Pebble Beach in a 2010 U.S. Open.

As collapses go, this was intolerable for a integrate reasons.

Johnson had done 22 birdies by 3 rounds. He had nothing on Sunday, and he wasn’t quite close. The biggest putt he done all turn was a 6-footer on a par-5 second hole to save spook after pushing into a water.

Even some-more startling is that Johnson is No. 1 in a universe with 4 victories this year. He is such an commanding figure that a contingent of vital champions behind him — Stenson, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka — figured they were personification for second.

“Try and win a other golf tournament,” pronounced Rose, who shot 67 and won a genuine thing.

As good as Johnson is — he is No. 1 in a universe for a reason — this is function distant too often.

Pebble Beach was a initial time Johnson played a final turn with a lead, by 3 shots over Graeme McDowell. That was left when Johnson done triple spook on a second hole and afterwards mislaid a turn in a underbrush perplexing to expostulate a third green. Johnson schooled that day to delayed down.

There unequivocally hasn’t been another bad fall given then. He had a two-shot lead during Doral in 2011 and finished second, nonetheless a 7 players within 3 shots of him were all among a tip 31 in a universe ranking. The other times, he was tied for a lead.

Even so, for someone who has piled adult 16 victories, one vital and 5 World Golf Championships in 10 years on a PGA Tour, Johnson has not determined himself as a good closer.

Not even close.

His record with during slightest a share of a 54-hole lead is tough to measure. By a book, he is 7-6, though 3 of those victories were usually 3 rounds since of sleet during Pebble Beach in 2009, high breeze during Kapalua in 2011 and a whirly during The Barclays in 2013.

Throw those out and he’s 4-6.

Johnson spoke usually prolonged adequate Sunday to acknowledge some of a mistakes that led to his downfall, especially chunking a brief iron for his second shot on a par-5 14th that caused him to hasten for par, and chunking another one on a 15th that led to a plugged distortion in a fort and a bogey.

“That cost me dual shots there,” he said.

And afterwards he done spook on a 16th — he done eagle there when he won a HSBC Champions in 2013 — by attack his tee shot to a left into a buried distortion in Bermuda severe and withdrawal himself such a bad angle that he could usually ask for soundness on a subsequent shot. He missed by a yard.

“So we gave a few away,” he said. “But tough conditions. we mean, it is what it is.”

Johnson is not a initial No. 1 actor to remove a six-shot lead. Greg Norman had what stays a many famous fall since of a stage, Augusta National in 1996, when he shot 78 and finished 5 shots behind Nick Faldo.

Bobby Cruikshank shot an 80 to remove a 1928 Florida Open. Hal Sutton shot a 77 to remove a 1983 Anheuser-Busch Classic. Another actor to remove a six-shot lead in a final turn was Gay Brewer. He sealed with a 73 in a 1969 Danny Thomas Diplomat Classic and was a plant of an Arnold Palmer charge. The other dual on that indeterminate list were Sergio Garcia in 2005 during Quail Hollow and Spencer Levin in 2012 during Phoenix.

If there is means for regard with Johnson, it’s his putter. He switched models when he won a BMW Championship final year and used that dabble by 3 true victories in a open that took him to No. 1. He switched behind to a dabble that he used in 12 prior victories, including a U.S. Open. He brought a opposite dabble with a racket conduct to China, and that lasted one round. He took possession of a fourth dabble 15 mins before he shot 63 on Friday.

Will this fall injure Johnson? Probably not. Johnson has a brief memory, one of his many strengths.

Just don’t design anyone chasing him on Sunday to consider they’re personification for second, no matter how vast a lead.

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