After seeing Scottie Scheffler shoot a 59 earlier in the day on Friday at the Northern Trust, Dustin Johnson tried to one-up him later in the day.
Prior to Friday, there had only been 12 occasions in PGA Tour history when a player had shot 59 or better. Then, in one day at the Northern Trust, after Scottie Scheffler shot a 59 early in the day, Dustin Johnson nearly matched the feat in the afternoon.
Scheffler finished first, rolling in a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to shoot the first 59 on the PGA Tour since Kevin Chappell shot the magical number last season at the Greenbrier. Little did he was nearly joined by DJ in the afternoon.
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Johnson came out on an absolutely torrid pace. On the first hole, he hit his approach shot to 10 feet and made the putt for birdie. On the par-5 second hole, DJ really jump-started the round when he made a 40-foot eagle putt to get to 3-under after just two holes.
He was nowhere near done and his insanely hot putter kept his momentum going. On the par-3 third hole, Johnson made a 20-foot putt for birdie. On the short par-4 fourth hole, DJ drove the green, leaving his tee shot about five feet from the cup. He made that putt, too, and he was an amazing 6-under par through just four holes.
DJ kept it going on the fifth hole. His second shot left him about 15 feet for birdie and he made yet another putt, going to 7-under through five holes.
It was not until the sixth hole that DJ made a score that wasn’t under par. That’s when he ran in a five-footer for par.
Johnson would birdie the par-5 seventh hole to get to 8-under on his round. On the par-3 eighth hole, he stuck his tee shot about five feet from the cup and knocked in the putt to make his fourth birdie of his round. He was 9-under through eight and would finish the front nine with a 9-under par 27.
DJ started the back nine in much the same way, with a birdie on the par-4 10th hole. He would also birdie the par-3 11th hole and would sit at 11-under par through 11 holes. It appeared the DJ could not only shoot 59, but perhaps a tour record 57, which would top Jim Furyk’s tour record 58 that he shot at the Travelers Championship in 2016.
However, his round lost its momentum at that point. The putts that were all falling on the front nine stopped falling on the back side. DJ would par numbers 12 through 17 but still came to the par-5 18th hole needing a birdie to shoot a 59.
His tee shot on 18 found the rough and he was forced to lay up, leaving himself about 85 yards for his third shot. He left that one about 25 feet from the cup and was unable to make another long putt. He settled for par and an 11-under par 60.
While DJ may have been disappointed by missing out on a 59, he still holds a two-shot lead at the Northern Trust heading to the weekend. And a win here would give him a good shot at winning the FedX Cup. That might help soothe the fact that DJ could not convert an amazing opportunity to shoot 59. Or lower.