NORTON — Dustin Johnson looked like the runaway favorite on Friday when he opened the Dell Technologies Championship with an impressive 5-under-par 66.
From there, like a computer gone to sleep mode, he barely made himself visible at TPC Boston for the greater part of the next 46 hours.
“I played really solid the first day in tough conditions,” said Johnson, noting a maddening wind that gave much of the field trouble on Day 1. “Today in tough conditions, I played solid.”
Johnson was only 1 under on his front nine Sunday, and still stood 1 under through 13. Finally, though, his game came alive as the rain picked up and he poured in four birdies over his final five holes. Tied at seventh, only three strokes off the lead, he’ll return Monday with a chance to win his second straight FedEx Cup playoff round, after rallying for a win last week at the Northern Trust.
“[Saturday] was the easiest day we had and I did not play well,” said Johnson, who was 1 over on Day 2. “I made two doubles and two bogeys — I easily could have made par on all those holes. So it is what it is. It happened. I’m still right there.”
Paul Casey, runner-up last year to Rory McIlroy, is but one stroke off the lead heading into Monday’s final round. He thinks he is in better position to win this time.
“I feel a bit better about my golf game,” he said, after carding a 4 under on Sunday, hard on the heels of leaders Justin Thomas and Marc Leishman. “I guess there’s pros and cons. The cons are I’ve got way more talent [in a bunched field] around the leaderboard that there was last year. I know Rory won.”
Last year, due to a tropical storm that gave the course a shake, play started early and players were sent out in threesomes to speed up play. With a good forecast Monday, play will begin at 7:20 a.m. and players will go off in customary weekend twosomes — to Casey’s liking.
“Tomorrow is meant to be perfect,” he said. “I prefer tomorrow’s scenario.”
Putting it together
Grayson Murray and Adam Hadwin joined Jordan Spieth at 10 under, two back of the leaders. Murray is No. 1 in putts per greens in regulation and has broken 70 all three rounds; Hadwin is third in total putting . . . Keegan Bradley recovered from an opening 76 with rounds of 68-69 and is tied for 36th at 2 under . . . World No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama hasn’t broken 70 (72-71-70) and is even par, tied for 36th . . . Graham DeLaet shot 42 on the front nine en route to an 80 . . . McIlroy, who failed to make the cut, remains the all-time money earner at TPC Boston, with two wins factored into his total haul of $3,384,189. Rounding out the top five: Vijay Singh, the only other two-time winner, $3,266,468; Steve Stricker, $3,141,043; Tiger Woods, $3,008,915; and Adam Scott, $2,771,184 . . . Casey’s lifetime earning at TPC Boston stand at $976,500. He easily will find himself in a club that as of Sunday included 22 Boston-made millionaires . . . Thomas made 3 on 12 of Norton’s 18 holes Sunday — the most in a single round of FedEx Cup playoff competition. He finished with a 63 and could have gone lower had he been able to shave any of the three par-5s.Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.