Say if you haven’t heard this many times: Dustin Johnson is in position to win a Major. And now let’s continue as if it hadn’t happened …
In an exhibition of high-level golf, Dustin Johnson made an error-free round and was on the verge of trying on Maestro’s green jacket at Augusta. An eagle and 5 birdies gave him a score of 65 strokes (-7), for a total of 200 strokes (65, 70 and 65) and 16 under par. 4-stroke advantage over Mexican Abraham Ancer, Australian Cameron Smith and Korean Sungjae Im.
But it has already happened and we hear it many times, right? If someone came from Mars without knowing who Dustin Johnson is, saw his golf swing and how he hits the ball, surely they would say that he should already have many Majors under his belt and, above all, many Masters. Hard to find a court that suits your game better than Augusta National. However, this 36-year-old native of South Carolina, who is first in the world ranking and accumulates no less than 22 victories on the PGA Tour, only has one Major in his showcase, the US Open cup that he won in 2016. in Oakmont. Many pending subjects.
Johnson reveals very little in his media interviews. Several wonder if it is because of his way of being or because he does not have much to say.
Too many times he came close to winning, sitting in the driver’s seat at major tournaments, and by Sunday he has somehow been diluted.
Much has been written about the players who go big on the biggest stages. Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka are perhaps the best examples of those who found a way to combine an extraordinary talent for playing golf, a lot of work and dedication, with privileged minds that knew how to master their bodies and bring out the best in them when they need it most. All of them have managed to make the precise shot at the right moment. It wouldn’t be fun to list them because we all know them, we’ve seen them many times. Perhaps the most iconic of the modern era is Tiger Woods’ chip from off the green on the 16th hole, here at Augusta, which entered the last fraction of a lap. There are hundreds of those memorable shots at crucial moments, and they are always from the same group of extraordinary players.
Johnson kicked off that habit of ruining his Majors leads on the final day at the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach with a final round of 82 strokes. That same year he made an unusual regulatory error to gift Martin Kaymer the win at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. He also failed on Sunday at the British Open in 2011 that Darren Clark won at Royal St. Georges. But perhaps the worst of all those mistakes was in 2015, when he made three putts from three meters on the final hole at Chambers Bay to gift the US Open to Jordan Spieth. How cruel is golf!
At this point, even those who are not his fans want him to finally win the Masters. Hopefully so and this Sunday afternoon we see him wearing the green jacket. It was never so close.
Behind Johnson, at a distance of 4 strokes, which a priori seems uncountable, there is a young Mexican named Ancer and named Abraham. This player, competing for the first time at Augusta, in this very different Masters, started the day tied for first place at -9. His partial score today was 69 (-3), a great lap that puts him on a total of 204 strokes (-12). Ancer said at the end of his lap: “Today was the day I hit the ball the best. I like this court and it suits my game well. It makes me feel comfortable and it amuses me. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow but it was worth it ”. With this score, Ancer ties for second place.
Rory McIlroy seemed, for a good part of the third round, that player capable of working miracles. With birdies on holes 2, 8, 9 and 12, he went -8. With the two par 5s of the lap ahead, numbers 13 and 15, available to lower them and score an interesting number on the board, Rory again showed that diluted version that his fans like so little. Unusually, and despite his great distance, he managed to bogey at 13 and par at 15. The birdie on the 16th hole tasted like consolation and left that ugly feeling of what could have been and was not. The question everyone is asking at this point is whether the day will ever come when Rory McIlroy completes the long-awaited Grand Slam here in Augusta. Open ending for the Northern Irishman.
Finally early Saturday, 18-year-old Argentine fan Abel Gallegos completed both qualifying laps at the Masters. With a total of 160 hits (+16) he was out of the weekend. They were dream days as he said at the end: “It was an indescribable experience. This place is a beauty and enjoy every moment and every stroke. I did not play my best golf, but the idea was to come to learn and have fun, and I have the best memories of this week. I would not change anything”.
Tiger Woods was far from the lead. His golf lost the precision it showed in the first round. Perhaps having played 25 holes in one day on Saturday, not finishing the second round due to lack of light on Friday, took a toll on his back. That discomfort, which was evident, clearly affected his game. Tiger made a pair of court (72) and with a total of -5 he tied for position 20. Offer a good show for
All set for the last round of the 84th edition of the Masters in Augusta. The first in history that is not played in the spring days of April. The first players to leave will do so at 7:50 am and the tournament is expected to end no later than 3pm local time. A somewhat drier court but still very attacking can offer a good show. So be it!