LOS ANGELES: Dustin Johnson warmed up for the US Open by reclaiming the world number one ranking on Sunday (Monday in Manila), cruising to a six-shot victory at the Fedex St. Jude Classic.
Johnson, who started the day alongside Andrew Putnam at the top of the leaderboard, held his nerve to close with a four-under-par 66 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
The 33-year-old sealed his win in emphatic style, holing out for a sensational eagle two on the 18th to roars from the gallery.
Johnson finished the tournament with a four-round aggregate 261, 19 under par.
“What a cool way to end the day to hole that shot on 18,” Johnson said afterward.
“A lot of good things happened this week. I knew coming in this week I was swinging really well and I had confidence in my game.”
Putnam’s challenge wilted after a disastrous double-bogey on the par-four first which left Johnson with sole possession of the lead.
The win ensures Johnson will return to the top of the rankings as the golf world prepares for the second major of the season at next week’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills, New York.
Johnson had ceded his number one spot to Justin Thomas last month following a 64-week reign at the top of the standings.
Sunday’s victory was the 18th PGA Tour win of Johnson’s career, and his first since a triumph at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.
“It was nice to be back in the hunt, to get the lead and to get the juices flowing a little bit,” Johnson said.
“It feels like it’s been a long time (since my last win), even though it’s only been six months.”
Johnson admitted he couldn’t be happier with his form as he aims to claim a second US Open after his victory at Oakmont in 2016.
“I have high expectations going in every week,” Johnson said. “But I feel like my game’s in good shape.
“I’m driving really well. I’m hitting my irons well, and my wedges are really good. I’m really looking forward to it.
“I haven’t seen the golf course yet but I’ll go there tomorrow and get 18 holes in and we’ll see.”
Putnam, meanwhile, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour, said he would take positives from the way he managed to steady his round after dropping three shots in his opening five holes.
The 29-year-old played went one under for the remaining 13 holes to close on 13 under par, four shots clear of J.B. Holmes in third.
“I had a lot of fun,” Putnam said. “I felt like I handled myself better than my score looked. The first couple of holes were a little rough, but overall, I had a great time.
“I’ll definitely learn from this experience.”