Johnson and Spieth in playoff at Northern Trust

  • Johnson and Spieth in playoff at Northern Trust

Johnson and Spieth in playoff at Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson shot a 65 on Sunday, including three birdies on the back nine.

The momentum swung Johnson's way after he finally made his first birdie of the day at the 9 hole and followed it up with another at the next to find himself level with his compatriot in what became a two horse race for the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.

Jon Rahm got within one shot of the leaders with a birdie on the 13th, but fell back and finished with a 68 and in a tie for third four shots back behind the leaders.

Spieth reclaimed the lead on the 14th only for Johnson to hole from 17 feet on the next, with Spieth then holing from a similar distance to save par on the 17th after following Johnson into a greenside bunker.

There are some very specific characteristics to Dustin Johnson's golf game that don't translate to most other people who have ever held a club in their hands. Earlier this season, he took home The Open Championship, leaving only the PGA Championship as the lone Major he has not claimed.

After suffering a back injury from a fall before the Masters in April, Johnson is feeling well going into future playoff tournaments after this win. "I feel like I am playing really well right now and my game is on track", he said on the CBS broadcast.

Spieth, 24, this year's British Open champion, began the day with a three-stroke lead, which he extended to five after five holes.

But he seemed destined for second place after leaving himself with a hard par putt at the 72nd hole.

Wesley Bryan said the choice of hole effectively made the play-off a "long drive contest", while Luke Donald jokingly compared his length off the tee to that of Johnson. And facing his first deficit of the day, Spieth made an 18-foot par save on the 17th.

The Open champion edged back ahead with an eight-foot gain at the 14th, only for Johnson to immediately bounce back and hole a 15-footer at the par-three next. Kelly shot a tournament-record 19-under 197. His third shot, from the fairway, was his worst wedge of the day.

"Finally, this is the first week I felt like my game was back to where it was; where I feel like I've got complete control over it", said Johnson. I was hitting so good so I knew I could win if I kept doing that and thankfully it worked out. "So it was nice".

That was the moment when Johnson did to Spieth what Spieth seems to do to everybody.

"I thought it was going to miss, for sure", he admitted with a laugh.

The two stars then headed back to the 18th tee box.

One was a putt from 18 feet. "I have been working hard and it paid off today".

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, finished in a share of 34th and looks to be seeing out a disappointing season.