True to form, Dustin Johnson got up to speed quickly and delivered a steady third round at the Masters on Saturday.
Johnson shot a 7-under-par 65 to take a commanding four-stroke lead into Sunday’s closing round at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
“I’m still going to have to put together a really good round if I want to put on that green jacket,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s three-day total of 16-under 200 came on a sun-splashed day in front of a limited gallery of family and select club members. He tied Jordan Spieth’s 54-hole tournament record set in 2015.
“I feel like I’m swinging well,” said Johnson, who also shot 65 in the first round. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing. Everything’s going well.”
In the third round, Johnson was 4 under across the first seven holes, including an eagle on the second hole, in what became another steady round for the world’s top-ranked golfer. That third round came without a bogey.
Johnson became the first in Masters history with multiple rounds of 65 or better in the same tournament. He has 10 consecutive under-par rounds at Augusta.
“I’m going to have to go out (in the final round) and do the same kind of thing,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of really good players right around me. And so, I’m going to have to go out and play aggressive when I can and play smart when I can’t.”
South Korea’s Sungjae Im (68), Mexico’s Abraham Ancer (69) and Australia’s Cameron Smith (69) share second place at 12 under.
“Getting the most out of my game all the time is something I feel I need to do,” Smith said.
South African Dylan Frittelli (67) is fifth at 11 under and Justin Thomas (71), who had four bogeys and two birdies across the final seven holes, is alone in sixth at 10 under.
Defending champion Tiger Woods shot 72 in the third round, completing his day of 26 holes. His busy day was created because the tournament has been working to get back on schedule with shorter days and a weather delay at the start of the opening round.
Woods, a five-time winner at Augusta, sits at 5 under and tied for 20th going to Sunday.
Im drained a shot from the fringe for a birdie on No. 11 to help him stay within range.
“I really feel like the course suits my game,” Im said through a translator. “I immediately thought I was going to do a good job. … I really feel that I’m going to stay composed.”
Johnson, Thomas, Ancer, Smith and Spain’s Jon Rahm were all tied for the lead after the second round concluded Saturday morning. About half of the field needed to complete that round after play was suspended by darkness Friday.
Rahm, who was the only one among the quintet that needed to finish the second round Saturday morning, overcame a double-bogey on the par-5 eight hole in the third round. But his bogey on the final hole left him with a 72, and 9 under for the tournament.
“They’re getting faster,” Rahm said of the greens.
Patrick Reed (71), the 2018 champion, and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz (69) are also at 9 under.
“It was night and day,” Reed said of the conditions on the greens compared to the first two days when the heavy rain created more favorable conditions.
The two winners of majors from earlier this year — Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa — both squeaked into the third round, making the cut by one shot. They were at even par after two rounds, right at the cut line.
DeChambeau, the U.S. Open champion, shot 3 under for the third round, while Morikawa, the PGA Championship winner, shot 2 under in Saturday’s full round.
DeChambeau said Saturday that he felt dizzy at times during play Friday and later in the evening took a COVID-19 test. He passed. “Not fully aware of everything,” he said Saturday in reference to his second-day outing.
With the tournament back on track after Thursday morning’s weather-related delay, Sunday’s final round is slated for a mid-afternoon conclusion. Everybody in the field will have tee times scheduled for the morning.
— Field Level Media