Johnson runs away with a victory in Memphis
Dustin Johnson ran away with the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee with a six-shot victory over Andrew Putnam. Johnson ended the week in style holing out on 18 to add insult to injury and turn his four-shot lead into six. With the win, he moves to second in the FedEx Cup rankings and reclaims his No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings heading into the U.S. Open.
The final round never got away from Johnson. He shared the overnight lead but quickly grabbed the solo lead that he would never relinquish after a double-bogey on the first from Putnam. After going out in even par, Johnson rolled in two birdies on 13 and 16 before holing out on 18 to extend his lead while his playing partner carded nine pars on the back nine.
Runaway victories have become a habit for Johnson on the PGA Tour this season. In his two wins in 2018, Johnson has won by a combined 14 shots. He won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii by eight shots and the FedEx St. Jude Classic by six shots. Johnson has shown he can get it done when the leaderboard is tight, but his last two victories have come with little stress on Sunday.
St. Jude Classic winner at the U.S. Open
PGA Tour players have different opinions about playing right before a major. Phil Mickelson always plays the FedEx St. Jude Classic right before the year’s second major, but you almost never see Rory McIlroy in action before any major tournament. The preference is based on the player.
Daniel Berger, who won the last two FedEx St. Jude Classics prior to Johnson’s victory, finished both U.S. Open’s the following week at 9-over and missed the cut last year at Erin Hills. Maybe it is Berger, maybe it is the St. Jude Classic, but his luck has not been great at the U.S. Open following his victories in Memphis. Likewise, Johnson finished 9-over and missed the cut at the Olympic Club in 2012 after winning the 2012 St. Jude Classic. This year could be different, but St. Jude Classic champions have not fared well at the U.S. Open in recent years.
Gaining momentum heading to Shinnecock Hills, or not.
There is no better way to gain momentum headed to Shinnecock Hills and the 2018 U.S. Open than winning in Memphis. However, there were several players who carded solid final rounds to build on heading to the second major.
After a tough Saturday, Phil Mickelson carded a 5-under 65 on Sunday to move into a tie for 12th. Everyone knows about Lefty’s history with the U.S. Open and Shinnecock Hills in particular where he finished runner-up in the 2004 U.S. Open. A solid final round is a sweet taste to take to New York for Mickelson.
On the contrary, Tony Finau did not have a great week as he missed the cut along with Kiradech Aphibarnrat. A multitude of U.S. Open qualifiers ended their tournament with over-par rounds including Henrick Stenson, Brooks Koepka, and Charl Schwartzel. Memphis was not kind to many looking to sharpen their game before heading to New York.