Dustin Johnson fired a 65 on Saturday at Glen Abbey Golf Club to secure a share of the 54-hole lead at the 2018 RBC Canadian Open.
Entering the day three off the lead, Johnson got off to a hot start with birdies on five of his first six holes to turn in 30 at 15 under. After dropping two shots on 10 and 13, the 34-year old South Carolinian carded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, and added an eagle on the next to reach the marquee at 17-under par, alongside Byeong Hun An, Whee Kim and Kevin Tway.
“I mean, definitely got off to a really nice start and made a couple good par saves in there, too. But yeah, I mean, I putted really well today,” said Johnson, who will be seeking his third win of the season tomorrow.
“I felt like I was definitely rolling the putter nicely. Didn’t hit as many fairways as I would have liked to have hit.
“This golf course is — you can shoot really low, which I did shoot a good score today, but if you’re in the fairway, you can attack pretty much every hole. If you’re not in the fairway, it definitely makes it a lot more difficult.”
An, who lost to Bryson DeChanbeau in a playoff at the Memorial, posted the only blemish-free card of the four leaders. The 26-year old Korean signed for a card with 12 pars and six birdies, three gains aside.
“I had a lot of up-and-downs today, like between holes 7 to 12, I think I had bunker shots and rough from everywhere, even on 17, and I knew long was not good, and I still got up-and-down,” said An, who is ranked 68th in the FedExCup standings.
“It’s been one of those nice up-and-down days, and then I grinded pretty well and I stayed patient. That’s why I was able to finish with three birdies on the par-5s.”
His compatriot, Kim, also 26, had been bogey-free until two late bogeys on 14 and 17. Kim offset the losses, though, with an eagle on the par-5 16th to reach the top spot.
“I would say I’m not going to change anything,” said Kim, when asked about the strategy of trying to beat world No. 1 Johnson.
“I’m playing really good right now. It’s just trying to do — just like the last two days and then today for three days. It’s going to be tough tomorrow again. The wind is going to blow, and I don’t know how much it’s going to get firm on the greens. Just got to be patient. That’s it. That’s about all I can do for tomorrow.”
Tway, the overnight leader, finished his third day up north offsetting two bogeys with six birdies, highlighted by three gains over his final four holes.
“It was a little struggle at the start, maybe a little nerves. Wasn’t swinging as well. But kind of stayed patient and had a good finish, so I’m still right there, and I’ll give it my best shot tomorrow,” said Tway.
“I’m just going to relish the opportunity. I’ve got nothing to lose, so I’m going to try to make as many birdies as I can.”
Johnson will be seeking his 19th career victory on Sunday, while this three co-leaders will all be looking to break through for career win No. 1.
DJ will be play with An in Sunday’s final group, while Kim and Tway will comprise the penultimate pairing.
TOP 10 LEADERS
1. Dustin Johnson -17 (-7)
1. Byeong Hun An -17 (-6)
1. Whee Kim -17 (-5)
1. Kevin Tway -17 (-4)
5. Hudson Swafford -13 (-5)
5. Rory Sabbattni -13 (-4)
7. Araham Ancer -12 (-7)
7. Joel Dahmen -12 (-5)
7. Chris Stroud -12 (-5)
7. Danny Lee -12 (-5)
7. Robert Garrigus -12 (-3)
7. Johnson Wagner -12 (-1)
Q: You were paired with Canadian Nick Taylor today, but it did seem like the crowd was probably even more on your side than they were on the Canadian’s side. Do you feel sort of like a Canadian, extra love, or do you get that everywhere you go?
“Well, I can thank Wayne for that. There’s a lot of Gretzky fans out there, and so they tend to pull for me, which thanks, Wayne, I appreciate that. I do get a lot of love up here, and the fans have been great this week.”
– Dustin Johnson