Dustin Johnson has set his sights on becoming world number one as he heads into next week’s Open Championship at Troon seeking a third win in a row.
A fortnight after claiming his first major title in the US Open at Oakmont, Johnson joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win three different World Golf Championship events, with victory in the Bridgestone Invitational.
The 32-year-old carded back-to-back rounds of 66 over the weekend in Akron to take advantage of a late collapse by world number one Jason Day, who bogeyed the 15th and double-bogeyed the 16th in the final round at Firestone Country Club.
The victory lifted Johnson to a career-high second in the rankings — overtaking Jordan Spieth by a fraction of a point — and the big-hitting American wants an extended stay in the top spot for good measure.
“The goal is to get to that number one spot. I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get there,” said Johnson. “It’s not just getting there, you want to stay there. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s the first time I’ve won two tournaments in a row. That’s big. I’m excited and looking forward to going over to the British with the golf game in good form.
“I like the kind of golf over there. I enjoy it. You’ve got to use a lot of imagination. It’s generally windy, so you use the wind. You’ve got to use the ground. I mean, it’s completely different than what we do here. Ever since the first time I ever went over there, I’ve always enjoyed it, and I feel like I play pretty well over there. I’ll go over early and play some golf and hang out, and then I’ll head over to Troon on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Thongchai Jaidee credited his time as a paratrooper in the Thai army for giving him the physical and mental strength to hold off Europe’s finest golfers and win the French Open at the weekend.
The 46-year-old ended his “perfect week” at Le Golf National near Paris with a closing round three-under-par 68 to finish four strokes ahead of Italy’s Francesco Molinari and five in front of world number four Rory McIlroy.
“It was a special week,” said Thongchai after becoming the oldest winner in French Open history.
“It was my perfect week, because I didn’t miss many shots. Anything I miss, I make a good recovery shot and make par.”
Thongchai began his final round with a two-shot lead over McIlroy and mixed four birdies with a single bogey at the final hole to clinch his eighth European Tour title.
The three times Asian Tour Order of Merit winner said a recent focus on psychology had built upon the toughness he acquired in the Thai military.
“I worked in the army for 14 years. I trained in the army camp about two years as an air bomb paratrooper, that’s why I have to be strong,” said Thongchai. When I play golf, I think it is really easy, because, training with the army, I had to wake up at five in the morning, run about two hours every morning and in the evening for two years.”
Thongchai’s victory was a record seventh for Asian golfers on the European Tour in a single season and will provide him with a confidence boost as he heads to Troon for the British Open.
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