Just in case anyone thought Dustin Johnson would relax after winning the US Open, put that notion to bed.
Johnson followed up his first Major win by triumphing at the WGC-Bridgestone last Sunday in Akron, Ohio, firing a final-round 66 to pass Scott Piercy and rise to No. 2 in the world, bypassing Jordan Spieth.
A pedestrian 2-over at the halfway point of the tournament, Johnson came alive with back-to-back rounds of 66 on Saturday and Sunday. Things got a little too close for comfort when he bogeyed his final hole while Piercy birdied it, cutting the final margin from three strokes to one, but otherwise Johnson was brilliant. It was one of only two bogeys on the entire round, and he preceded the final one with birdies on 13, 14, and 17 to put the tournament away while Piercy staggered with four bogeys in a stretch between No. 9 and No. 15.
Johnson’s ability to turn his game around was staggering. On Friday, he notched six bogeys and looked completely out of sorts in finishing with a 3-over 73, but a completely different man emerged on Saturday. He went on a birdie run, recording six between holes 4 and 11 to fling himself into contention.
Piercy was the model of consistency, shooting 69-69-67 through the first 54 holes, but his 70 on Sunday as the big sharks were all in the 60s cost him a championship.
It’s Johnson’s second title of the year, third of the last 16 months, and his third WGC championship, all since 2013. Piercy found himself in a familiar position, a step behind Johnson as he was in tying for second at the US Open.
Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell, and Jason Day finished tied for third at 3-under, with Day falling off the charts with a final-round 72 that cost him a victory.
Spieth looked in position to make a push for the top as he birdied 6, 7, 11, and 12, but produced nothing but pars the rest of the way. Kuchar matched Johnson’s 66 and Chappell a 67, while Day came completely unhinged on the final few holes. The No. 1 player in the world eagled No. 2 to reach 7-under and was still there through 14 holes. But after bogeying 15, he double-bogeyed 16 with a 7 and hit another bogey on 18 to end up three back of the lead.