Dustin Johnson just misses a restless 59, but takes a 2-shot lead at Northern Trust

NORTON, Mass. – For the longest time Friday, it looked like Scottie Scheffler’s 59 might not even be the best score of the day at The Northern Trust.

By the time Scheffler signed his card, Dustin Johnson had already set off an explosive start that put some buzz in the TPC Boston, even without spectators on the track.

Birdie. Earn. Birdie. Earn. Birdie.

Johnson was 9 under through eight holes, and with two birdies to start the eighth nine, he was 11 under through 11 holes.

And then he turned on a parchment machine, with only two good views of birds the rest of the way and one decision he wanted back. Johnson hit driver on par-5 18 in a slope of grungy grass, when a 3-wood was all he would need to have a mid-iron in the green. He had to raise, hit wedge to 25 feet and two-putted for a seventh straight par.

Johnson shot a 60, and took a 2-shot lead for the tournament, and it almost felt like pity in order.

“If I hit the fairway there, it’s a pretty easy 4. But I did not, so shot 60,” Johnson said. “That’s OK, though. I’m pretty happy with it. Pretty happy with my position leading up to the weekend.”

Johnson was at 15 under 127, two shooters ahead of Scheffler and Cameron Davis (66).

Not since the John Deere Classic in 2010 have two players been 60 or lower on the same day. That contributed to Tiger Woods being irritated by his pedestrian 71 allowing him to make the cut on the number and leaving him 12 shots behind.

“I just don’t like it very much,” Woods said. “I was close to snapping up a few clubs today, but I did not, so that’s a positive.”

Johnson made it so easy that Marc Leishman, playing in his group, started asking about the lowest score anyone would ever score. “A 59 didn’t even seem like a question,” Leishman said.

Johnson hollowed out a 40-foot eagle putt at no. 2. He beat driver up to 4 feet for nobility at no. 4. The rest of his birdie bird pits were in range, usually of 12 feet or closer. And he made them go on, until the birds soon dried up.

Johnson missed a 12-foot on the 13th and a 10-foot on the 17th. And then he failed to make bird on the last hole, the easiest of the day at the TPC Boston.

A 59 is no longer the record – Jim Furyk shot 58 at the Traveler Championship in 2016 – but it is still considered the magic number of golf.

Johnson will have to wait.

“I wanted to shoot 59. I never did,” he said.


“Not that I remember,” Johnson said, breaking into a smile before I added, “and I think I would remember that.”

Meanwhile, the play-offs of the FedEx Cup ended early for about two dozen players who missed the cut and were assured of not making the top 70 to go to the BMW Championship next week. That included Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, who withdrew before the tournament began.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.