Dustin Johnson is (somehow) the 54-hole leader of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park after shooting a 5-under 65 (with a double bogey!). He leads the field by one, but the pileup behind him is enough make sure his head is on a swivel come the finale on Sunday.
D.J. hit the ball decently on Saturday, but he putted the eyes out of it, gaining over four strokes on the field on the greens. That’s either going to be the way he wins this event or a harbinger of a Sunday in which he can’t close because he’s not striking it as well as he should be (or usually does).
Interestingly, this year’s PGA Championship setup could work to his advantage. When Johnson won his lone major — the 2016 U.S. Open — he didn’t even know his score for most of the final round. This year’s fan-less event at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco is the type of oddity which throws others off but D.J. can thrive in. Toss in the fact that he apparently lost his yardage book and that he shot 80-80-78 consecutively three weeks ago, and it all sort of adds up (at least when it comes to D.J. math).
He’s the leader and the favorite, but if D.J. is unable to close on Sunday afternoon, there will be a host — and I do mean host — of players behind him ready to pounce. Consider this stat from Saturday’s round and the fact that we go to Sunday with 17 players within four of his lead, and more chaos is sure to evolve in Round 4.
Here are the players who can run Johnson (-9) down from behind — ranked by likelihood of it happening — when (not if!) things get wild on Sunday. Check out odds (via William Hill Sportsbook) and picks from our CBS Sports experts.
1. Brooks Koepka (-7): His 3-3-3 finish on Saturday felt problematic for D.J. Koepka kept himself in the tournament after a string of birdies just before that. The quotes afterward felt even more problematic. And to top it all off, Koepka is hitting it better than D.J. is right now. It feels like it will come down to those two just like it did at the 2019 PGA Championship when Koepka held Johnson off for his fourth major. However, if it doesn’t, there are some extremely fascinating storylines beyond Koepka.
2. Collin Morikawa (-7): Wait, Collin Morikawa?! Yes, Collin Morikawa! The harder the wind blows on Sunday, the better his chances. You might not know the name yet, but he’s a superstar. And he’s having an all-time putting week (for him). There’s a real chance that Morikawa could have his best ball-striking day on Sunday and leave everybody else gasping down the back nine as he knocks down flagsticks en route to his first major championship.
3. Bryson DeChambeau (-6): The beef boy might have something nasty in store on Sunday. Like Morikawa, he had an insane putting day on Saturday, capped by a 95-footer on the 18th. DeChambeau doesn’t yet have a top 10 in a major championship, but he’ll be going for broke on Sunday and juiced up by whatever adrenaline is available. His iron play was poor on Saturday, and while I don’t totally trust it on Sunday, he’s certainly capable of back-to-back 66s for the win.
4. Scottie Scheffler (-8): He’s putting it a little too good for his standards this week, but like Morikawa, the ball-striking should sustain him. Doesn’t feel like he’ll win, but it also doesn’t feel like he’ll fade away just because he’s playing with D.J. on a Sunday at a major, either.
5. Tommy Fleetwood (-6): This is sort of how he nearly won the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock when he dropped that filthy 63 in the final round. I trust Fleetwood more from this spot than I would if he was way out in front. Like Koepka, he saved his event with a 3-3-3 finish. That’s good momentum for Sunday.
6. Jason Day (-6): I thought Day would be leading on Saturday evening, but he didn’t have his best stuff in Round 3. If you’re looking for the perfect statistical profile of somebody who’s going to absolutely pop on Sunday, it’s Day. First on approach shots and 44th in putting. That’s exactly how Justin Thomas won last week.
7. Paul Casey (-7): I don’t really trust his closing kick, but he was really good coming home. He played the last 12 holes in 2 under (which is really difficult to do), and when you watch him hit iron shots into these types of greens, you wonder how he’s never won one. First from tee to green over the first three rounds.
8. Xander Schauffele (-5): This is how he wins! He ran down Paul Casey in his Tour Championship win. He ran down Gary Woodland in his Tournament of Champions win. He ran down Tony Finau in his WGC-HSBC Champions win. Four back is one more than I would like, but I would not be surprised if Xander shot 65 on Sunday for his first major victory.
9. Cameron Champ (-8): Easy to watch, not easy to envision him winning though. He and Scheffler will be feeling a different pressure than they’ve ever felt in their lives on Sunday afternoon, and he kind of limped home on Saturday after sniffing the lead. I don’t think he’ll shoot 80, but I don’t think he’ll be in it over the final few holes in the final round.