Dustin Johnson hit his stride and found his swagger Saturday on the back nine of the Blue Monster at Doral to emerge with a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Cadillac Championship in Doral, Fla.
Johnson hit what he called a “bunt drive” some 310 yards on the 17th and hit wedge to 2 feet for the last of his eight birdies. Just as important, he played the 18th hole without drama to finish with a 7-under 65.
He was at 13-under 203, although eight players are separated by three shots heading into today’s final round. All of those eight players are among the top 31 in the rankings.
The surprise is that group doesn’t include Martin Kaymer. The new No. 1 was in the final group with Hunter Mahan, one shot out of the lead, until he took double bogey from the water on the third hole en route to a 74. He is seven shots back.
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Johnson will play in the final group with Luke Donald, who took bogey on the final hole for a 66. Even so, Donald is in good position to capture a second consecutive World Golf Championship, and a victory could be enough to make him No. 2 in the world.
Nick Watney, who lost a duel at Doral with Phil Mickelson two years ago, was tied for the lead until a sloppy finish. Watney missed birdie putts of 7 feet on the 16th and 6 feet on the 17th, then pulled his tee shot into the water on the closing hole for a double bogey. Instead of leading, he had to settle for a 68 and was among those trying to chase down Johnson. Watney, Donald and Matt Kuchar (68) were 11 under.
MATTESON MOVES UP
Second-round co-leader Troy Matteson shot a 6-under 66 in the Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande to open a three-shot lead over Hunter Haas.
Matteson seized control by matching the best score of the day, finishing with seven birdies and a bogey to reach 16 under at Trump International Golf Club.
PRICE IN CONTROL
Nick Price followed his record-tying first round with a 3-under 68 at Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club to take a two-stroke lead over Mark Wiebe in the Toshiba Classic. Price, 54, is at 14-under 128.