Dustin Johnson proves why he's top of the world

Dustin Johnson proves why he's top of the world

Dustin Johnson proves why he's top of the world

World No.1 Dustin Johnson feels his sudden-death victory at the US PGA Tour's Northern Trust marks the return of his world-beating early 2017 form.

Johnson stole victory from the clutches of world No.3 Jordan Spieth during a sudden-death play-off win in New York on Sunday, in the first leg of the $US67 million FedEx Cup play-offs series.

Big-hitting American Johnson fired a four-under-par 66 to join Spieth (69), who began day four with a three-shot lead, at 13-under in regulation play before a birdie on the first extra hole secured Johnson's fourth Tour win this year and first since a momentum-killing freak accident on the eve of the Masters.

Johnson usurped Australia's Jason Day atop the rankings during a hot early 2017 run that delivered three wins in as many starts, including back-to-back World Golf Championships titles.

But Johnson fell down a set of stairs at his rented Augusta home and after he was unable to play the Masters, he managed just two top-10 results prior to the Northern Trust.

"I feel about as good as I did before Augusta," said Johnson after his win at Glen Oaks Club on Long Island.

"After the start I got off to this year, and having an injury right before Augusta, it's been a tough road to get back to where I feel my game's able to compete out here again."

Johnson demonstrated the lethal power that ranks him No.1 on Tour for driving distance when he nailed a 341-yard (311-metre) drive on an aggressive line over the water hazard and onto the fairway on the par-4 18th during sudden-death.

Johnson's drive (blue) compared to Spieth's attempt (red). Pic: SI.com/Shotlink

The 33-year-old then hit a sublime wedge shot to three feet and drained the birdie putt, while Spieth only managed a par, for Johnson's 16th Tour victory.

"Finally, this is the first week I felt like my game was back to where it was; where I feel like I've got complete control over it," said Johnson.

The 24-year-old Spieth extended his advantage to five early in the round before three dropped shots on the front nine cost him dearly.

"I didn't lose the tournament. He won it," said Spieth.

Spieth finished outright second, with recent Canadian Open winner Jhonattan Vegas (65) bagging a share of third at nine-under alongside Spanish world No.8 Jon Rahm (68).

Meanwhile, Queenslander Day bagged his fourth top-10 finish of 2017.

The world No.9, who won this event in 2015, rocketed back up the leaderboard with a Sunday 67 to finish tied sixth at five-under.

Countryman Geoff Ogilvy (72) needed a birdie on his last hole to have a chance at advancing to the second play-offs event in Boston next week but a chip-in double-bogey left the 2006 US Open winner at three-over and tied 40th; his season coming to an end.

Queensland veteran Rod Pampling (69) salvaged a six-over total and a share of 54th.

Johnson now leads the FedEx Cup standings over Spieth.

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