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Dustin Johnson surges into lead at Tournament of Champions

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Dustin Johnson holed out with a wedge for eagle, made birdie on every par 5 and powered his way to 7-under 66 to build a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Tournament of Champions.

Coming off his lone bogey from a poor chip behind the green on the par-3 11th, Johnson faced a 65-yard shot down the hill and up the slope of the green, and it rolled out into the cup. He added three more birdies to reach 16-under 203 Saturday.

Brian Harman couldn't keep pace, dropping two shots early on the back nine until a late rally for 69 to stay two back. Harman began the day tied with Marc Leishman, who didn't make birdie until the 16th and wound up with 76 to fall nine behind.

Johnson won at Kapalua in 2013 when the wind was so strong that it took three days to start the tournament, and it was reduced to 54 holes.

The No. 1 player in the world with a two-shot lead on any course is daunting enough, although recent history is enough to keep anyone's hopes alive. In his most recent PGA Tour start, Johnson lost a six-shot lead in the final round of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Jon Rahm made up ground Saturday with a birdie-eagle-birdie burst in the middle of the back nine. A final birdie gave the explosive Spaniard 66 and left him four behind. Johnson and Rahm have a little history. Rahm nearly chased him down in Mexico City last year in a World Golf Championship, then three weeks later pushed him in the final of Match Play, which turned out to be Johnson's third straight win. "Hopefully, I can play good down the stretch like I've been doing, just start a little better on the front nine," Rahm said.

DON'T TELL PHIL: Justin Thomas will use Jim "Bones" Mackay to caddie for him next week at the Sony Open. Thomas' regular caddie is injured. Mackay spent 25 years with Phil Mickelson until they parted ways last summer. Mackay now works for NBC and Golf Channel.

Dustin Johnson surges into lead at Tournament of Champions 01/06/18 [Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2018 11:14pm]
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