San Francisco, United States, August 9: Dustin Johnson excelled on moving day in the US PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park shooting a third-round five-under-par 65 to lead on nine under.
The United States star, runner-up in this event last year, leads by one stroke from two rising youngsters of the American game, Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Champ.
Scheffler also shot a 65 while Champ carded a 67, over the demanding San Francisco course.
China’s Li Haotong, who started the day with a two-shot lead, battled with a wayward driver on the back nine and carded a 73 to fall into a tie for 13th on five under.
Johnson was at his best on the inward half making birdies on 10, 14, 15 and 17 for an inspired back nine of four-under-par 31.
He is chasing his second Major victory to add to his 2016 US Open title. Remarkably, he has 17 top-10 finishes to his name in the Majors.
“I’m going to have to play good golf if I want to win. It’s simple,” said Johnson.
“I’ve got to hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. If I can do that tomorrow, I’m going to have a good chance coming down the stretch. I’m just going to have to do what I did today. Just get it done.”
By contrast Li, like so many others, struggled on the back nine, making a double on 13 followed by drops shots on 14 and 16.
However, lying just five behind Johnson, he stills has an outstanding chance to become only the second Asian winner of a Major after Korean YE Yang’s victory in this event in 2009.
Brooks Koepka from the United States, who is attempting to win the tournament for the third successive year, is in hot pursuit after making birdie on the 18th for a 69 to lie two adrift of the lead.
American Kurt Kitayama, who won on the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour in 2018, came in with a 70 and is even par for the first Major of the year.
American star Tiger Woods, the winner of 15 Majors and four PGA Championships, returned a 72 and sits in a tie for 59th on two over.