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Finishing kick puts Johnson at top

DORAL — Dustin Johnson hit his stride Saturday on the back nine of the Blue Monster, shooting 31 to emerge from a crowd with 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead going into today's final round of the Cadillac Championship.

He hit what he called a "bunt drive" that went 310 yards on the 17th, leaving him a wedge into 2 feet. That was the last of his eight birdies and put him atop the leaderboard. A bit later, after Nick Watney missed two short birdies and put his tee shot into the water on No. 18, Johnson had the lead to himself.

"I played well (Saturday) — drove it well, putt it well, hit the ball well," Johnson said. "So I'm going to have to do that again (today)."

Johnson was at 13-under 203, with seven players within three shots of him, none lower than No. 31 in the world.

That group does not include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who remained out of the mix. It doesn't include Martin Kaymer, either. The new No. 1 struggled to 74 and was seven shots back. Johnson will play in the final group with Luke Donald, who took bogey on the final hole for 66.

Johnson got off to a rough start in this event — his opening tee shot Thursday sailed right and struck a spectator in the head. Turns out it was his grandfather, Art Whisnant, a former basketball star at South Carolina. "Yeah, that was a hard drive," Johnson said, smiling. "He said it hit him on the fly, but it couldn't have."

Whisnant wasn't hurt.

Watney, who settled for 68 after double bogeying No. 18, and Matt Kuchar (68) were with Donald at 11-under 205.

PGA: Troy Matteson shot 6-under 66 to open a three-shot lead at the Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande. He had seven birdies and a bogey to reach 16-under 200. Hunter Haas (68) was second.

CHAMPIONS: Nick Price followed his record first round with 3-under 68 to take a two-shot lead in the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, Calif. Price, who shot 60 on Friday to tie a tour record, was at 128 total. Mark Wiebe was second after his second straight 65.

Finishing kick puts Johnson at top 03/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:50pm]
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