Johnson dominates Northern Trust; Popov surprises at Troon

NORTON , Mass. (AP) — Dustin Johnson looked dominant as he ever as, and nothing could stop him 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 never made it look easier. Johnson won his fifth FedEx Cup playoffs event — tied with Rory McIlroy for most — and returned to No. 1 in the world. He finished at 30-under 254.

Staked to a five-shot lead over Harris English going into the final round, Johnson sent a towering 7-iron over the water to a front pin on the par-5 second, the ball settling 8 feet next to the pin for an eagle. Two holes later, his 3-wood was placed perfectly in front of the fourth green for a simple up-and-down for birdie.

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

He led by five and went out in 30, stretching his lead to seven shots at the turn. On the 500-yard 12th hole, where on Saturday he hit a tight draw with a 6-iron to a foot, this time he hit a slight fade with a 6-iron to 3 feet for anther birdie.

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

But after that birdie on the 12th put him at 29 under, Johnson settled into four straight pars. He is only the third player to finish 30 under, joining Els and Jordan Spieth, also at Kapalua. So he at least owns the record on the mainland.

It was reminiscent of Friday, when he was 11 under through 11 holes and the only question was whether he could become the first player to shoot 57. He made seven straight pars for a 60.

This closing stretch was different. Johnson cares more about trophies than records, and getting his round finished was all that mattered.

English tried to hold his own, three times matching birdies with Johnson. He finished with a bogey that didn’t matter, shot 69 and moved to No. 6 in the FedEx Cup. English started the year without a full card. Now he has locked up a spot in the Tour Championship.

LPGA TOUR

TROON, Scotland (AP) — Sophia Popov won the Women’s British Open at Royal Troon to become the first female German major champion, a stunning breakthrough for the 304th-ranked player in the world.

Popov had five birdies in 3-under 68 to finish at 7 under, two strokes ahead of Jasmine Suwannapura of Thailand.

Wiping tears from her eyes, Popov tapped in a bogey putt at the last to complete one of the most unlikely wins in the tournament’s history. She lost her LPGA Tour card last year and only qualified for the Women’s British Open with a top-10 finish two weeks ago at the Marathon Classic, an event she was playing only because higher-ranked players couldn’t compete in because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Popov won her first professional title, and the winner’s check of $675,000 is more than six times her previous earnings. And just three weeks ago, Popov was ranked No. 390 and caddieing for her best friend, Anne van Dam, at the Drive On Championship in the LPGA Tour’s restart.

Suwannapura shot a 67.

The tournament was the first women’s major of a pandemic-disrupted year. It was played without spectators at Troon because of coronavirus restrictions.

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EUROPEAN TOUR

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) — France’s Romain Langasque won the Wales Open for his first European Tour title, closing with a bogey-free 6-under 65 for a two-stroke victory.

Langasque earned a spot next month in the U.S. Open, overcoming a five-stroke deficit Sunday. The 2015 British Amateur champion finished at 8 under at Celtic Manor in the second of two straight events at the resort.

Sami Valimaki of Finland was second after a 69.

Sebastian Soderberg, tied for the third-round lead with Connor Syme, closed with a triple-bogey 8 for a 74 and a tie for fifth at 4 under. Syme had a 75 to tie for eighth.

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KORN FERRY TOUR

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Curtis Luck won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship for his first Korn Ferry Tour title, getting uo-and-down for par on the par-4 18th for an even-par 71 and a one-stroke victory over three players.

The 24-year-old Australian birdied the 15th and 16th holes and parred the final two to finish at 11 under at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course. He earned $180,000.

Theo Humphrey (67), Taylor Montgomery (68) and Cameron Young (71) tied for second. Humphrey birdied the par-4 18th, Montgomery finished with a bogey, and Young with a par.

In 2016, Luck beat Young in the Round of 16 en route to the U.S. Amateur title. The tournament was the third in the four-event Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series.

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SYMETRA TOUR

BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) — Fatima Fernandez Cano of Spain won the IOA Championship for her first Symetra Tour title.

Fernandez Cano closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 12 under at Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. She earned $18,750 to jump to third in the race for five LPGA Tour cards with $29,532.

Anna Redding was second, two strokes back after a 69.

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