Dustin Johnson shoots 65 early Saturday and is lurking again at the Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, Conn. – A year ago, during the third round of the Travelers Championship, Dustin Johnson started a run that pushed him to the top of the world rankings. He shot 61 that Saturday, hitting 12 or 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens, then went on to win the tournament the following day. Two months later, he won the Northern Trust, the first event in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Two weeks later, he won the Tour Championship and the $15 million check that comes with it.

Johnson started that third round of the 2020 Travelers Championship six shots off the lead. A 65 at TPC River Highlands put him just three shots behind the leaders after he signed his scorecard. In other words, he’s lurking again.

“It’s nice this week, obviously, playing solid and to birdie the last two yesterday to make the cut. I definitely wanted to be here for the weekend,” Johnson said. “Obviously to go out today and shoot a nice score, it was good.”

Today’s performance was eerily similar to Johnson’s third round here last year. He hit 11 of 14 fairways this time, and 16 of 18 greens in regulation again. He also putted extremely well, making birdie putts from 8, 11, 9 and 7 feet before draining a 43-footer on the par-5 13th hole.

When asked if he was one good round away from being back and regaining the form that took him to No. 1 in the world, Johnson supplied a surprising answer.

“I have plenty of good rounds. The good rounds doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s more my shots, just seeing the right shape and hitting them solid, and consistency with my shots and distance control. Then I know I’m starting to play well.”

If he “plays well” on Sunday at the Travelers Championship, he might just be good enough to defend his title.

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