DJ (66) three back thanks to hot putter

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AKRON, Ohio – The putts finally started to drop for Dustin Johnson, and now the U.S. Open champ has a shot at his second win in as many starts.

Johnson began the day six shots off the pace at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but a blistering run of birdies in the middle of his third round helped him climb the leaderboard.

Johnson birdied five holes in an eight-hole stretch – the equivalent of the number of birdies he had made through the first 39 holes of the tournament. While he cooled off down the stretch, he still carded the day’s lowest round, a 4-under 66 that took him to 2 under for the week and within three shots of Jason Day and Scott Piercy.

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“I did everything pretty well today,” Johnson said. “I felt like I was driving it really good, hit a lot of great iron shots and rolled the putter pretty nicely, too. It was just an all-around good day.”

Johnson is two weeks removed from his major breakthrough, a three-shot win at Oakmont Country Club. Firm conditions throughout the week at Firestone Country Club have made it difficult for players to stick their approach shots, but Johnson made more than 232 feet worth of putts Saturday, including six putts of more than 15 feet.

“You’ve still got to play really good golf because the course is firm,” he said. “It’s tough to get it in the fairways, and then the greens are firm too, so it’s tough to get it close to the flag.”