Dustin Johnson shot a four-under-par 68 in blustery conditions that led to big numbers, building a six-shot lead in the HSBC Champions and leaving him one round away from becoming the first player to win three World Golf Championships in the same year.
He got plenty of help from Brooks Koepka.
They were tied for the lead through seven holes Saturday until a four-shot swing on the par-five eighth hole. Koepka drove into the hazard off the tee, and then found the hazard again on his approach to the green. He missed a six-foot putt and took triple-bogey 8.
Johnson smashed his drive over the trees and into the fairway, and with a thick splotch of mud on his golf ball, he sent that into the left rough above the green. He hit a flop shot to 15 feet and holed it for birdie.
Just like that, his lead was four shots, and no one got any closer the rest of the way.
Johnson was at 17-under 199. Koepka hit into the water from a bunker on the par-five closing hole at Sheshan International in Shanghai and had to make a six-footer to save bogey. That gave him a 73, leaving him six shots behind.
Henrik Stenson, finally starting to round into form, shot 69 and was at 10-under 206.
Even with more wind anticipated Sunday, this was turning into another exhibition for Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player.
“I’m in a good position going into tomorrow,” Johnson said. “But I’m still going to have to go out and play a really solid round if I want to get it done.”
Johnson earlier this year won the WGC-Mexico Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas. Not even Tiger Woods with his 18 titles in the World Golf Championships ever won more than two in one year.
Johnson already has five such titles, and he’s the only player to have won each of the four. He won the HSBC Champions four years ago.
“If Dustin keeps on playing the way that he’s done this week, I think it’s going to be a one-man show tomorrow,” Stenson said. “But you never know. Tough wind, and this golf course has a couple of holes where you can certainly have a number. It’s never over until it’s over.”
Langer in three-way tie at Champions event
Bernhard Langer shot his second straight three-under 69 to pull into a tie with David Toms and Miguel Angel Jimenez for the second-round lead at the PowerShares QQQ Championship.
Langer, the Schwab Cup points leader who has all but wrapped up his ninth PGA Tour Champions money title in 10 seasons, birdied Nos. 12, 13 and 17 to pull even with Jimenez (70), one behind Toms (72). Toms, who had a hole-in-one in the opening round, then bogeyed No. 18 to fall into the three-way tie at six-under 138.
Scott McCarron (69), Billy Andrade (70) and Jeff Maggert (73) — who was tied with Toms for the lead after the first round — were one shot back. Kenny Perry (68), Doug Garwood (69), Wes Short Jr. (70) and Scott Dunlap (72) were tied for seventh at 140. Jesper Parnevik, who was one shot off the lead after the opening round, had a 74.
Kerr overtakes Shanshan for lead at Sime Darby
Cristie Kerr fired a six-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Feng Shanshan at the Sime Darby.
The American veteran, who posted the tournament’s lowest score of 63 on Friday, had five birdies in the opening nine holes of the third round and got two more for an overall 15-under 198.
“I’m just going to enjoy it,” Kerr said of Sunday as she aims to clinch her first title in six months. “I’m just going to try to not put too much pressure on myself. I try to do the best on every shot, so that’s my mantra tomorrow.”
Former top-ranked Lydia Ko, the first-round leader, saw her title challenge all but end after posting a 70 to end the day tied for 12th on 7-under 206.
Feng stays in firm contention after shooting three-under 68, despite only managing three birdies in tropical conditions at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
South Korea’s Kim Sei-young is four shots behind Kerr in third, while American duo Stacy Lewis and Jacqui Concolino are tied for fourth.
Armour has five-stroke lead in PGA event
Ryan Armour shot a five-under 67 during a windy, chilly third round to take a five-stroke lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.
Armour, who led by one after 36 holes, had eight birdies and three bogeys to move to 15 under 201. Chesson Hadley (68) was next at 10 under.
Vaughn Taylor (70), Scott Strohmeyer (68), Beau Hossler (69), Ben Silverman (69), and Seamus Power (71) were tied for third another shot back at 207.
Armour, 41, is seeking his first PGA Tour title in his 105th Tour event.