Chris Carlson/Associated Press
For the second time in 2020, Dustin Johnson is the 54-hole leader at a major championship.
The 36-year-old enters the final round of The Masters with a larger cushion than he had at the 2020 PGA Championship.
Johnson is four shots ahead of Sungjae Im, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith. Justin Thomas and Dylan Frittelli are the only other golfers within five strokes.
With a pair of 65s on his scorecard already, Johnson could be impossible to catch on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club.
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Dustin Johnson Finally Earns 2nd Major Victory
Johnson appeared to be in line to earn his second major crown at the PGA, but his final-round 68 was not enough to fend off a long list of contenders.
The good news for the American is he has a lead three strokes larger than the one he possessed after Saturday at TPC Harding Park.
Johnson has been on another level than most of the field all week, and that dominance could extend into the final round.
The 54-hole leader did not drop a shot during Saturday’s third round. He started with an eagle at No. 2 and birdies at Nos. 3 and 4.
If Johnson benefits from a similar start on Sunday, the back nine could serve as a coronation of the latest Masters champion.
Since the start of the 2018 season, Johnson has a final-round average of 70.3 at major tournaments. He produced a 69 on Sunday at Augusta in 2018 and was one shot better in the fourth round a year ago.
Even if Johnson displays consistency with a string of pars and a few birdies, he should feel safe atop the leaderboard.
Im, Thomas and Frittelli all have a round of 66 or better this week, but a replication of those cards may not be enough to touch Johnson if he does not drop shots, like he did on Saturday.
Rory McIlroy Leaves Augusta With Top 5 Finish
Rory McIlroy is one of the many notable golfers sitting in the top 10.
The 31-year-old placed himself in a tie for 10th behind a third-round 67. If he did not struggle in the opening round, he may have been in the mix for a green jacket.
If McIlroy can follow up his 66-67 stretch with another low round, he will challenge for a top-five finish, which would be a great end to 2020 for the player.
McIlroy tied for eighth at the U.S. Open, but he struggled, like many golfers, in the final round and carded a 75.
If he completes The Masters with another strong round, McIlroy could gain confidence that may lead to another major victory.
A year ago, McIlroy carded a final-round 68 at Augusta that led to a tie for 21st. That low round spurred a run of three top 10 finishes in the last five majors.
McIlroy’s path to the top five will not be easy with Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and others in the mix for high placings, but he has shown in the last few majors that he is capable of reeling off three straight rounds under par.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from PGATour.com.
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