“I don’t ever say, ‘Well, I’m going to shoot 64,’” Johnson said at Royal Birkdale after moving some 30 spots up the leaderboard in the third round. “I just try to shoot as low as I can, whatever number that is.”
The 64 for Johnson appeared effortless, making six birdies with no blemishes on the scorecard to reach 3 under for the championship. He had missed the cut in his last two events (including the U.S. Open at Erin Hills) and hadn’t been anywhere near the form he was early in the year when he leapfrogged everyone to become ranked No. 1 in the world.
“I think I figured it out today,” he said. “We’ll see tomorrow. I’ll let you know after I’m done.”
While Johnson is near the top of the leaderboard there is plenty of room separating him and the actual leader. In order to contend for his first claret jug, Johnson knows he’ll need to go even lower on Sunday at Royal Birkdale.
“I’m going to need to shoot probably 9 under [which would be a new major-record 61] I would imagine,” he said. “To get to 12, I think that would be a decent number to sit in the clubhouse at.”