ON THE LINKS
Dustin Johnson won the St. Jude Classic in his second event after a back injury cost him nearly three months away from the PGA Tour, shooting a 4-under 66 that held off John Merrick by a stroke yesterday in Memphis.
Johnson pulled a muscle in his lower right back in early March lifting a jet ski at his home, and rest was the biggest part of his prescription for healing. He didn’t return to the tour until last week at the Memorial, where he tied for 19th.
He began the final round two strokes back and held a piece of the lead three different times. He won his sixth career title with consecutive birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 and finished 9-under 271.
Johnson, who picked up the check for over $1 million, led by only a stroke going to No. 18. Rory McIlroy, Chad Campbell and Nick O’Hern, three of the four who had a chance to tie Johnson with a birdie, knocked their tee shots into the lake. Johnson said he thought he might have been tied and made sure he hit the fairway to at least give himself a chance at birdie. Par was good enough.
Now Johnson is the first player since Tiger Woods (1996-2000) to win in each of his first five seasons on tour after leaving college, which he said means a lot. His six career wins are the most of any of the tour players in their 20s.
“It means I’m playing good golf, too,” Johnson said. “I come out every week and I try to just put myself in position to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Merrick remains winless in 154 career tour starts. He shot a 69, recovering from a double bogey where he hit twice into water with a pair of birdies, and had a 272 total.
Davis Love III, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, shot a 69 and tied for third. McIlroy, who heads to San Francisco and The Olympic Club to defend his U.S. Open title, had a 69 and tied three others at 274.
* Shanshan Feng shot a 5-under 67 to win the LPGA Championship by two shots in Pittsford, N.Y. It was her first victory on the LPGA Tour and the first for a player from China.
Stacy Lewis, bidding to win her third straight stroke-play event on the LPGA Tour, shot a 70 to tie for second with Mika Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen and third-round leader Eun-Hee Ji. Miyazato shot 69, Pettersen 70, and Ji 72.
* Tom Lehman won his second straight Regions Tradition, finishing the Champions Tour major with a 4-under 68 to take a two-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer and Chien Soon Lu at Birmingham, Ala.
* Britain-Ireland rallied to beat the U.S. 10 1/2 -9 1/2 in the Curtis Cup in Nairn, Scotland, ending the Americans’ 16-year domination of the biennial women’s amateur matches.
The outcome means that for the first time all four major professional and amateur men’s and women’s team trophies are held by Britain, Ireland and Europe.
PGA Tour, John Merrick, St. Jude Classic, Rory McIlroy, Nick OвЂ™Hern, Mika Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, Chad Campbell, Tiger Woods, stroke