In only his second event played in three months due to a lower back injury, Dustin Johnson was nevertheless able to overcome the odds and win his first PGA Tour event of 2012 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Johnson came into the final round two shots out of the lead, and needed to go low on Sunday in order to put himself into contention. He was able to do just that, making birdie on three out of his first seven holes. He did have one minor slip-up on the ninth hole when he made bogey, but had a great stretch of holes to end his round with birdies on holes 16 and 17 for a final round 66. Watching him play, he was hitting his irons very crisp and pure from the first hole to the last, which really helped to propel him to victory as he ranked in the top 5 in the field in greens in regulation. Any casual golf fan knows about the length Johnson has off the tee, and when he combines that with good iron play along with making a few putts here and there, Dustin can easily put himself into competition at any golf event he enters in, and it just so happened that he was able to pull through and get the win this week. It is hard to say whether or not Dustin should be considered as a favorite for the U.S. Open because hasn't played consistently in a while, but he could certainly put up a decent number if he plays like he did in getting the victory.
Tied with Johnson heading into the last day, McIlroy also got off to a quick start with birdies on holes 2, 4, and 7, and with another birdie on 11 Rory had a two shot lead. For someone of McIlroy's caliber one would have thought the tournament was all but his, right? However, as he has been doing for the past few weeks now, McIlroy became inconsistent with his driving, which led to two bogeys and a double bogey over his last seven holes to finish three shots out. McIlroy actually had a chance to win heading into the final hole, as he was at -8 overall and Johnson was one stroke ahead, but hit his tee shot into the water and ended up making double bogey to complete his final round. There are certainly some good things that Rory can take away from the event heading into the U.S. Open, but unless he gets more accurate with his driving I don't think he will finish in the top 10 next week.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for well over a decade.
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