Dustin Johnson wins by 11 shots at Northern Trust and is back to no. 1

NORTON, Mass. – Dustin Johnson looked as dominant as he ever has, and nothing could stop him on Sunday in The Northern Trust.

Not even the weather.

Johnson played the final two holes in near darkness after a late storm delay and finished with a birdie for an 8 under 63 and an 11-shot victory over Harris English.

It was the 22nd victory of his PGA Tour career, and he has never made it easier. Johnson won his fifth FedEx Cup playoff event – tied with Rory McIlroy for the most part – and returned to No. 1 in the world. He finished at 30-under 254.

Staked after a 5-shot lead over the English in the final round, Johnson sent a towering 7-iron over the water to a first pin on the par-5 second, with the ball putting 8 feet next to the pin for an eagle. Two holes later, his 3-wood was perfectly placed for the fourth green for an easy up and down for birdie.

It was like that all day. It was like that all week.

Johnson led by 5 and went out in 30, strutting his lead to 7 shots at the innings. On Sunday at the 12-yard 12th hole, where he hit a tight draw with a 6-iron to 1 foot on Saturday, he hit a light fade with a 6-yard to 3-foot for another bird.

The only drama was whether he could set two PGA Tour scores: 31 under par by Ernie Els at Kapalua in 2003 and 253 by Justin Thomas at the 2017 Sony Open.

After the birdie put him down at 29 on the 12th, Johnson ruled him out for four straight presses. He’s only the third player to finish 30 under, and does with Els and Jordan Spieth, also at Kapalua, so he at least holds the record on the mainland.

It reminded me of Friday when he was 11 under by 11 holes and the only question was whether he could become the first player to shoot 57. He made seven straight presses for a 60.

This concluding stretch was different. Johnson cared more about trophies than records, and getting his round was all that mattered.

It was there three years ago on Riviera, when he was ready to break Lanny Wadkins’ 72-hole record, the longest on the PGA Tour schedule. But he finished with three bogeys in the last 10 holes while playing conservatively, and only later did he say he did not know what the record was – and he did not give up either.

English tried to keep his own, three-time matching birds with Johnson. He ended up with a foul that had no case, shot 69 and stepped to no. 6 in the FedEx Cup. English started the year without a full map. Now he has locked up a place in the Tour Championship.

There’s no stopping Johnson as he puts all parts of his game together, especially the irons. He missed a green in the final round.

Kevin Kisner, who grew up playing junior golf with Johnson in South Carolina, has seen this before.

“He can absolutely dismantle a golf course when he’s on,” Kisner said. “I’ve been looking at it for 25 years. I’m pretty used to it. When he’s on, I just step aside and try to add to my bank accounts.”

Kisner did that part well. He closed with a 66 and is in good shape in his bid to lock up a spot in the Tour Championship. He said all week that he wanted to take care of it at the TPC Boston instead of having to deliver next week in the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, a course he had never seen before.

The top 70 in the FedEx Cup progressed to the BMW Championship, and there was one shot that mattered when game resumed. Louis Oosthuizen at no. 99 in the standings was in the 18th fairway, easily within reach of the green on the par-5 closing hole. He hit a two-putt birdie in the dark to close out 70th place.

Robby Shelton finished with a 63, enough for him to be among six players who moved into the top 70. The others were Oosthuizen, Harry Higgs, Alexander Noren, Russell Henley and Jason Kokrak. Five of the six missing players missed the cut, including Phil Mickelson. The other was Denny McCarthy, who shot 73 on Sunday.