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Posted April 14, 2019 07:04 pm
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Dustin Johnson somewhat quietly ties for second with late surge

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    Dustin Johnson waves to the patrons on No. 18, which he parred after getting three straight birdies Sunday. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/FOR THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Somehow, the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world nearly snuck up on everyone and won the Masters.

With all eyes focused on Tiger Woods and many on third-round leader Francesco Molinari, Dustin Johnson quietly went about his business Sunday. Beginning the day five shots off the lead and tied for seventh, Johnson rocketed up the leaderboard late.

When he made three straight birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 17, he found himself in a five-way tie for the lead at 12-under.

Johnson couldn't coax one more birdie out of his day, parring No. 18. He finished with 4-under-par 68 and tied for second with Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka, one behind Woods.

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The showing was Johnson's best at the Masters, topping his tie for fourth in 2016. It's his fourth consecutive top-10 finish here. 

Following back-to-back 70s, Johnson seemed in for another ho-hum kind of day Sunday. He was even through 12 holes, offsetting a bogey on No. 3 with a birdie on No. 8.

With his window closing to get into contention, Johnson finally made his move.

He crushed a 341-yard drive on No. 13 and two-putted from 51 feet for birdie. After a par on the 14th, the roll really began: Johnson two-putted from 43 feet for birdie on No. 15, then fired a dart on No. 16 to five feet for another birdie.

Johnson made it three in a row on No. 17, taking his share of the lead by hitting a 131-yard approach to seven feet, punctuating his birdie putt with a slight fist pump. With the rest of his co-leaders still on the course, Johnson had an opportunity to apply a little pressure on No. 18.

He darn near did. His drive found the fairway bunker, but he came out clean with his second shot finishing 17 feet from the cup. With a chance to get to 13-under, the eventual winning score when Woods bogeyed No. 18, Johnson saw his birdie putt from below the hole stay left.