Northern Trust 2017: Dustin Johnson Takes Down Jordan Spieth in Playoff Win

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2017

Dustin Johnson holds up his trophy after winning The Northern Trust golf tournament over Jordan Spieth in a playoff on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Old Westbury, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Dustin Johnson outlasted Jordan Spieth in a playoff Sunday to win The Northern Trust, the first of four events building toward the FedEx Cup.

Spieth entered the day at Glen Oaks Golf Club with a three-stroke lead and was up as many as five strokes in the fourth round, but a late charge helped Johnson even things up after 72 holes. He finished Round 4 with a bogey-free 66 before winning the tournament on the first playoff hole.

It's the fourth victory of the year for the American as he sets himself up for a strong end to the 2017 season.

As ESPN Stats & Info noted, it was also Spieth's first loss "when entering the final round with a multi-shot lead."

Here are the final results from Old Westbury, New York:

1. Dustin Johnson (-13)

2. Jordan Spieth (-13)

T3. Jhonattan Vegas (-9)

T3. Jon Rahm (-9)

5. Paul Casey (-6)

T6. Webb Simpson (-5)

T6. Jason Day (-5)

T6. Justin Thomas (-5)

T6. Kevin Chappell (-5)

T10. Justin Rose (-4)

T10. Matt Kuchar (-4)

T10. Bubba Watson (-4)

T10. Louis Oosthuizen (-4)

T10. Robert Streb (-4)

T10. Patrick Cantlay (-4)

T10. Chez Reavie (-4)

Full leaderboard available at PGATour.com.

Johnson and Spieth spent the back nine battling shot for shot in what felt like a match-play competition between two of the biggest stars in the sport.

The duo had five combined birdies and zero bogeys from holes nine through 18, which was enough to send the competition to a playoff.

On the first playoff hole, however, Johnson was simply flawless:

He started with a 341-yard tee shot over the water, per Justin Ray of Golf Channel, following it up with a perfect approach and an easy birdie putt for the win. Spieth's par wasn't quite good enough to stay alive.

Shane Bacon of Fox Sports summed up the action:

Spieth appeared ready to run away with this event early in the day after expanding his three-stroke lead to a five-stroke lead with a couple of birdies in his first five holes.

However, a miserable double bogey on the par-three sixth hole helped keep the rest of the field in the hunt:

Another bogey on No. 9 with a Johnson birdie created a two-stroke swing and just a one-stroke margin going into the back nine. Johnson followed it up with a birdie on No. 10 to even things up at 11 under with eight holes left.

These back-to-back birdies were huge for the No. 1 player in the world:

Ryan Burr of Golf Channel described the drama:

Jon Rahm and Jhonattan Vegas continued to post birdies to remain in the hunt as well, although it wasn't enough to keep up with the top two in the field.

The final pairing combined for four birdies in a span of three holes, sitting at minus-13 heading into the 16th hole.

Jason Sobel of ESPN was excited about the action:

Each player appeared to have a chance to pull ahead, but clutch pars ensured we would head to a playoff.

This long putt from Johnson on No. 18 was one of the biggest of the day:

While Spieth earned par on the first playoff hole, Johnson was more aggressive the second time around on No. 18 and won it with a birdie, concluding an exciting head-to-head battle between two elite golfers.

Rahm and Vegas completed their strong tournaments with a tie for third.

Although they weren't close to the leaders, Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose had quality weeks and ended up with spots in the top 10.

Bubba Watson also earned a tie for 10th, which was big for him to make a move in the FedEx Cup standings after a disappointing season.

While Johnson moves to the front of the pack after his win, there is still plenty of competition for the biggest purse in the sport. The top 100 players will enter the Dell Technologies Championship, which Rory McIlroy won last year en route to his FedEx Cup title.

Only 70 players will survive that round of cuts, which could create plenty of drama throughout the week in TPC Boston.