By Rory Carroll
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – American Dustin Johnson said the experience he has gained from pressure-packed major tournaments will give him a leg up when he tees off at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
Johnson played a complete game to card a five-under-par 65 at TPC Harding Park on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead heading into the final 18 holes with the leaderboard stacked with young talent.
The 36-year-old, who is playing in his 13th season on the PGA Tour, won the 2016 U.S. Open and has finished second or tied for second at all three other majors. The former world number one has also notched 21 PGA Tour victories.
“I’ve been in contention a lot, and I’ve got it done a lot of times,” he told reporters. “Tomorrow, it’s no different. I’m going to have to play good golf if I want to win.”
Johnson holds a one-stroke lead over his countrymen Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Champ. Both are vying for their first major title, while Scheffler is also eyeing his first win at a PGA Tour event.
But lurking two strokes back of Johnson is Brooks Koepka, a four-time major winner who saves his best golf for the biggest stages, and was brimming with confidence after his round of one-under-par 69 on Saturday.
Johnson said the key was to stay focused on his game and not get distracted by watching the leaderboard at the event.
“All I can do is go out and play my game and shoot the best number I can. I’m going to just try and go out and shoot as low as I can tomorrow just like I did today,” he said.
“It doesn’t really matter what other guys are doing. All I can control is myself.”
(Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)