Golf

World No. 1 Johnson shows his class in duel with Spieth

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson hunted down Jordan Spieth with a bogey-free round, and then beat the reigning British Open champion with a birdie at the first play-off hole of the Northern Trust yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Johnson, who started the day three shots behind overnight leader Spieth, set himself up with a monster drive at the first play-off hole and finished off the win with a three-foot birdie putt.

He had tucked his approach in close for an almost-certain birdie, so the writing was on the wall when Spieth was unable to make his long birdie attempt from the fringe.

The two stars had duelled down the back nine at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, New York.

Johnson drained a 17-foot downhill putt for par at the 72nd hole of regulation to force the play-off, and then claimed his first victory since a back injury suffered in a fall forced him out of the US Masters in April.

Until the injury, he had been on a roll this year, winning three tournaments to ascend to the top of the rankings.

"I feel the game's finally back in form like it was leading into the Masters," Johnson said.

"I'm swinging everything really well, got a lot of control over the golf ball and I'm feeling really good.

"Getting a win here today gives me a lot of confidence going into next week and the rest of the play-offs."

Johnson fired a final-round 66 for a 13-under total of 267 in the first of four events in the US PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-offs.

Spieth, who closed with a 69, was in control for most of the day and led by as many as five on the front nine.

But he had no answer to Johnson's late show.

Spieth Said: "I thought that was a fun show. I didn't lose the tournament. He won it." - AFP

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