Dustin Johnson moves four clear of Rory McIlroy in Mexico

World No 3 gets off to hot start to increase his lead at WGC event

Rory McIlroy  reacts on the 15th green during the third round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec  in Mexico City, Mexico. Photograph: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy reacts on the 15th green during the third round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City, Mexico. Photograph: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

 

Dustin Johnson launched a 368-yard drive at the second hole for an eagle en route to a four-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy after the third round of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Saturday.

The hot start afforded the world number three the luxury of maintaining a healthy buffer despite a double-bogey at the 10th hole at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.

Johnson carded five-under-par 66 to remain on course for a second win in three years at the World Golf Championships event, and a 20th victory of his PGA Tour career.

He finished on 16-under 197 for the tournament, while Northern Irishman McIlroy, who led after the opening round, mixed seven birdies with four bogeys for a 68 to stand alone in second place on 12 under.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Americans Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay and Australian Cameron Smith were a distant seven strokes back in a share of third.

Tiger Woods had problems on the greens, four-putting at the 15th and three-putting the next, to slip 10 strokes off the pace with a 70.

Shane Lowry finished double-bogey, bogey on his final two holes in a one-over 72 that left him on five over for the tournament.

Not content to sit on the lead after starting the day two shots clear, Johnson hoisted his drive over a clump of trees at the par-four second and was rewarded when his ball landed near the front of the green and trundled to near tap-in range.

He made a complete mess of the par-four 10th, however, with his second shot from the rough striking a tree branch and ricocheting to the edge of a line of bushes, from where he found another tree with his third shot.

“I misjudged the lie a little bit,” he said of his second shot.

“It shot straight up in the air, hit the tree in front of me and I ended up making a double but I didn’t let it bother me because I knew I’m playing well and there were plenty of holes I could make birdie on coming down the stretch.

“I’m driving it well, really controlling distance with the irons. I feel good everywhere.”

McIlroy acknowledged it would probably be tough to catch the in-form Johnson, who two weeks ago won a European Tour event in Saudi Arabia.

“I battled,” McIlroy said. “Probably didn’t hit it as well as the first couple of days, but I hung in there.

“It was hard to stay patient but I feel like my patience was rewarded. I’m still four behind, it’s going to be tough, especially against DJ, who’s arguably the best player in the world.”

SCOREBOARD
(British and Irish unless stated, par 71)

197 Dustin Johnson (USA) 64 67 66

201 Rory McIlroy 63 70 68

204 Cameron Smith (Aus) 69 67 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 66 69, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 72 67 65, Patrick Reed (USA) 72 68 64

205 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 68 69 68, Ian Poulter 68 68 69

207 Tiger Woods (USA) 71 66 70, Tommy Fleetwood 70 65 72, David Lipsky (USA) 68 71 68, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 72 66 69

208 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 71 67 70, Xander Schauffele (USA) 69 73 66, Paul Casey 71 72 65

209 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 72 70 67, Tyrrell Hatton 67 70 72, Gary Woodland (USA) 71 71 67, Lee Westwood 73 71 65

210 Danny Willett 71 69 70, Kevin Kisner (USA) 73 67 70, Charles Howell III (USA) 69 68 73

211 Keegan Bradley (USA) 69 73 69, Tony Finau (USA) 73 69 69, Branden Grace (Rsa) 71 71 69, Bubba Watson (USA) 70 75 66, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 76 69 66, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 69 68 74, Matthew Fitzpatrick 72 71 68

212 Haotong Li (Chn) 69 72 71, Brooks Koepka (USA) 73 70 69, Joost Luiten (Ned) 71 67 74, Aaron Wise (USA) 73 68 71, Patton Kizzire (USA) 69 73 70, Matt Kuchar (USA) 66 67 79, Rickie Fowler (USA) 71 73 68

213 Kevin Na (USA) 72 75 66, Justin Thomas (USA) 66 73 74, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 73 67 73, Webb Simpson (USA) 73 72 68

214 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 71 72 71, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 72 74 68, Billy Horschel (USA) 68 76 70, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 72 68 74, Russell Knox 72 72 70

215 Matt Wallace 74 71 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 77 74 64, Jake McLeod (Aus) 70 69 76, George Coetzee (Rsa) 67 74 74, Aaron Rai 70 74 71

216 Phil Mickelson (USA) 79 65 72, Jon Rahm (Esp) 72 72 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 72 73 71

217 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 70 77 70, Kyle Stanley (USA) 73 72 72, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 75 70 72

218 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 76 73 69, Shane Lowry 70 76 72

219 Alex Noren (Swe) 71 74 74, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 72 72 75, Jordan Spieth (USA) 75 69 75

220 Eddie Pepperell 77 70 73

221 Marc Leishman (Aus) 77 75 69, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 75 73 73

222 Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 77 74 71

223 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 75 72 76, Chez Reavie (USA) 75 76 72

224 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 76 76 72, Tom Lewis 74 73 77

227 Sang Hyun Park (Kor) 80 79 68

230 Matthew Millar (Aus) 74 82 74

232 Shaun Norris (Rsa) 79 80 73

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