Johnson into commanding lead

 

Dustin Johnson holds a four-shot advantage going into the final round at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am after a five-under-par 67 at Poppy Hills saw him climb to the top of the leaderboard.

Johnson was two strokes off the pace entering the third round but managed to overhaul Retief Goosen, who shot a 74 at Spyglass Hill to relinquish the lead.

Birdies on four of his last nine holes moved Johnson to 15-under, while Canadian Mike Weir signed for a 69 at Spyglass Hill to move into second on 11 under par.

Goosen, a double US Open champion, is third at 10-under as the South African looks for his first PGA Tour title in more than three years.

Currently in just his second full year on the PGA Tour, Johnson is looking for the second victory of his career in an event which is being played at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Poppy Hills Golf Club.

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected for the final round, which will be played at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Despite the ominous forecast, Johnson has no plans to alter his strategy.

“I’m not going to change my game plan at all,” Johnson said. “Obviously everyone is going to be playing in the same weather, so if it’s difficult for me, it’s difficult for everyone.”

Johnson was thankful his touch around the greens made up for some wayward approach shots.

“I got off to kind of a little bit of a rough start. I hit a few bad shots, but my short game was very good, so I chipped it close and made the putts. So that kept me going a little bit,” he said.

“I birdied all the par-fives. Out there you’ve just got to take advantage of the par-fives and usually you’re going to play pretty well.”

Goosen was naturally disappointed with his day’s efforts.

“It was a terrible round of golf. I played poorly tee to green,” he said.

“It was a very disappointing round, I’ve played myself a little bit out of the tournament now. I’m going to need a very low round to have a chance of catching the leader now. I wasn’t very comfortable out there at all today, couldn’t hit the ball well and struggled, really.”

Weir, meanwhile, is hoping his wealth of experience will give him the edge.

“I have some good memories to draw on. I’ve played some good rounds at Pebble Beach, and as far as the weather goes, we’ll see what we get tomorrow,” Weir said. “This week we’ve been lucky. Most days they’ve called for a lot of rain and we’ve got away with it. So who knows.

“If it’s calm at Pebble Beach you can score. If it’s windy it’s as tough as anything. We’ll see what we get.”