DJ in contention after closing Day 3 with birdie


LOS ANGELES – Dustin Johnson eased his frustration and emboldened his appetite rolling in a 10-foot birdie at the 18th to close his round Saturday at the Northern Trust Open.

'That’s definitely going to make lunch taste better,” Johnson said.

With a 4-under-par 67, Johnson got himself into contention despite a shaky stretch on the back nine.

After taking a share of the lead with a birdie at the 13th, Johnson bogeyed the 16th and then three-putted from 5 feet to bogey the 17th. The last bogey felt like a double-bogey coming on a par 5.

'I had an easy putt, 5 feet away, right edge,” Johnson said of his first missed putt at the 17th. “I just hit it too hard.”

Johnson then missed the 3-footer coming back.

Still, Johnson is heating up after some off season challenges slowed his 2012 start. He underwent surgery on his right knee in November to repair cartilage damage. Scheduled to start the season at the Humana Challenge, Johnson withdrew, complaining that his knee was fine but he tweaked his back favoring the knee when he walked.

After sluggish starts tying for 43rd at the Farmers Insurance Open and tying for 61st at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Johnson tied for fifth last week at Pebble Beach. He likes Riviera almost as much as Pebble Beach, where he has won twice. Johnson tied for third at Riviera two years ago and tied for 10th the year before that.