CROMWELL, Conn. – It's Moving Day at the Travelers Championship and Dustin Johnson did some heavy lifting, moving up 49 spots on the leaderboard following the third round.
Johnson, the tournament’s defending champion, was inside the top 10, at 7 under, when he signed his Saturday scorecard for a 65. He remained in the same spot, tied for ninth at just three back, at day's end.
Johnson had six birdies on the day, including three straight on holes 7-9 and again on Nos. 11 and 13, before putting an exclamation point on his day on the par-4 18th. Johnson ignited a roar from the crowd after he smashed his longest drive of the day, 337 yards into the fairway, and then plopped the ball onto the green, 5 feet from the hole.
"Yeah, today was, I mean, a little better," Johnson said following his third round. "Gave myself a lot of looks. Hit a lot of greens. I think the only green, I maybe missed one green (he hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation). I don't know. Made bogey but it wasn't like I -- it was a bad wedge shot.”
Johnson's lone bogey was on the par-4 12th, where after a 292-yard drive into the fairway, his second shot curved right, onto the rough inches from the bunker. He would two-putt for bogey.
It was the same story the following hole, the par-5 13th, but he salvaged that hole with a 43-foot putt for birdie.
"Yeah, it was definitely good. I mean, I feel like I'm doing a lot of things really well," Johnson said. "It's just every time I feel like I make a mistake, it's a bogey. When you're playing well, you miss a shot, you're grinding out the pars."
If it wasn't for capping off Round 2 with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18, Johnson would not have had the chance to move the chains on Day 3. Now, instead of missing the cut, he’s got an outside chance of defending his title.
Johnson also lost his world No. 1 status last week to Jon Rahm, dropping to No. 2 for the first time since last August's Northern Trust. He needs a two-way tie for fifth or better this week to reclaim the top spot.
"So, it's nice this week obviously playing solid," he said. "But to birdie the last two yesterday to make the cut, which I definitely wanted to be here for the weekend, and obviously go out today and shoot a nice score, it was good."
Johnson will continue to take it hole-by-hole in the final round.
"I have plenty of good rounds," he said. "The good rounds doesn't matter. It's more my shots, just seeing the right shape and hitting them solid, and consistency with my shots and distance control. Then I know I'm starting to play well."