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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 22 January, 2019

Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth ended up in a gripping play-off last night

World number one Johnson believes he’s finally recaptured his best form after winning the Northern Trust.

PA-32546576 Source: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

DUSTIN JOHNSON FELT in “complete control” once again as he claimed a thrilling play-off win over Jordan Spieth last night at the Northern Trust.

The world number one kicked off 2017 with three wins before the Masters, but he suffered a back injury prior to the major at Augusta.

But with a birdie on the first play-off hole at Glen Oaks Club yesterday, Johnson claimed his fourth victory of the year and first since March.

“It was a big win for sure,” Johnson said after his round. “Especially after the start I got off to this year, and then you know, having an injury there right before Augusta. It’s been a tough road to get back to where I feel like my game’s able to compete out here again.

“Finally, this week’s the first week that I felt like my game was in really good shape and is back to where it was, where I feel like I’ve got complete control over it.”

Source: PGA TOUR/YouTube

A change in wind direction prompted Johnson to hit an awe-inspiring tee shot over a lake on the first play-off hole. Johnson, who missed the fairway playing it safe at the 18th in regulation, wished he had gone for it the first time.

“Yes, I did, and I don’t know why I didn’t,” Johnson said when asked if he thought about trying to hit it over the lake in regulation. “Even with a little bit of hurt – the wind kind of died down there when we were finishing, so it wasn’t really blowing. It’s only 300 carry. I can cover that.

“Right after I hit my drive, I was like, what am I doing, you know, because I hit myself in the worst possible spot that I could be in. Even if I aim left and cut it and it goes in the bunker; a much better position than I am in the right rough with 210 yards to the hole. I mean, I’ve got no chance.

“But yeah, I told AJ [caddie Austin Johnson], I was like, if we go into a play-off, there’s no way I’m going to the right again. Unless the wind is in the face; the right, it’s actually a hard drive for me to go down the right side.”

Even the best golfers in the world endure moments of struggle, but Johnson believes his game is close to its best again.

Source: PGA TOUR/YouTube

“I feel about as good as I did before Augusta,” he said. “I feel like I’m driving it really good again. I’m controlling my irons very well, hitting a lot of quality iron shots close to the hole.

“You know, got the wedges – my wedges are dialled back in where I’m controlling the distance very well. Every time I had a wedge shot this week, I felt like I hit a really good shot and gave myself really good looks at birdie.”

Spieth, who began the final round with a three-shot lead, still enjoyed the duel with Johnson despite ending up on the losing end: “I thought that was a fun show. I thought that was a fun show to be a part of. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be that much fun.”

He added: “I didn’t lose the tournament. He won it, you know. Played well. Game feels good. And I recognised a couple tendencies that I got into my swing towards the end of the round that prevented me from hitting great iron shots like I did before, so I know what to work on.”

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