Dustin Johnson showed he’s fully recovered from a back injury, holding off fellow American John Merrick by a single shot to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
Johnson began the final round two shots back from the lead but he was in contention from the outset in the final round. A host of players had a chance to win and the lead changed hands multiple times on Sunday. For some time Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy looked most likely to take the title.
But McIlroy’s hopes faded on the back nine. He followed bogeys on the 12th and 14th holes with only a par at the par-5 16th. A birdie at the testing 17th went some way to salvaging the situation and, as he stood on the 18th tee, the Northern Irishman still had a share of the lead. But he hooked his tee shot into the water and slumped to a double-bogey six. He eventually finished in a tie for seventh. Although disappointed, he was able to take the positives from the week.
“I’m looking forward to getting to San Francisco (for next week’s US Open,)” he said. “I can take a lot from this week into next.”
Playing with McIlroy, Chad Campbell was also tied for the lead on the 18th tee, but he too found the water with his drive. He managed to save a bogey five to finish the week in a tie for third.
It was Dustin Johnson who emerged from the pack towards the end of the round. Birdies at the 16th and 17th saw him reach nine-under-par. A solid par on the final hole was sufficient to post a total nobody would match. After three months off with a back injury, Johnson took his sixth PGA Tour victory – perfect preparation for next week’s US Open.
“It feels really good, especially having had so much time off,” he said. “It means I’m playing good golf, I come out every week and just try to put myself in a position to win on Sunday.”
John Merrick ended the week alone in second. He looked to have blown his chance on the 12th where he found the water twice en-route to a double bogey six. But he rallied and birdies at the 15th and 16th cancelled out those dropped shots. When Australia’s Nick O’Hern bogeyed the final hole, Merrick was left as solo runner-up.
FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
7-10 June, purse $5,600,000, par 70
1 Dustin Johnson (USA) 70 68 67 66 271 $1,008,000
2 John Merrick (USA) 66 69 69 68 272 $604,800
T3 Chad Campbell (USA) 68 67 70 68 273 $268,800
T3 Davis Love III (USA) 68 68 68 69 273 $268,800
T3 Nick O’Hern (Aus) 70 67 67 69 273 $268,800
T3 Ryan Palmer (USA) 74 66 67 66 273 $268,800
T7 Robert Allenby (Aus) 68 70 67 69 274 $168,700
T7 Ken Duke (USA) 68 68 73 65 274 $168,700
T7 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68 65 72 69 274 $168,700
T7 Seung-Yul Noh (Kor) 67 69 72 66 274 $168,700
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
European Tour – Lee Westwood wins Nordea Masters