Dustin Johnson holds the winner's trophy after winning the FedEx...

Dustin Johnson holds the winner's trophy after winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind. (June 10, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dustin Johnson won the St. Jude Classic Sunday in his second event after a back injury cost him nearly three months away from the PGA Tour. He shot 4-under-par 66 to hold off John Merrick by a stroke.

"Well, it feels really good, especially having so much time off," Johnson said.

Johnson pulled a muscle in his lower right back in early March lifting a jet ski at his home, and rest was the biggest part of his prescription for healing.

He didn't return to the tour until last week at the Memorial, where he tied for 19th.

He began the final round two strokes back and held a piece of the lead three different times. He won his sixth career title with consecutive birdies on No. 16 and No. 17 and finished 9-under 271.

"I had a lot of looks, lot of good looks and made a few putts coming down the stretch," Johnson said. "Made great birdies at 16 and 17."

Johnson led by only a stroke going to No. 18. Rory McIlroy, Chad Campbell and Nick O'Hern, three of the four who had a chance to tie Johnson with a birdie, knocked their tee shots into the lake. Johnson said he thought he might have been tied and made sure he hit the fairway to at least give himself a chance at birdie. Par was good enough.

Now Johnson is the first player since Tiger Woods (1996-2000) to win in each of his first five seasons on tour after leaving college, which he said means a lot. His six career wins are the most of any of the tour players in their 20s. Johnson is the seventh player in his 20s to win on tour this year.

"It means I'm playing good golf, too," Johnson said. "I come out every week and I try to just put myself in position to have a chance to win on Sunday."

Johnson isn't concerned that no one has won on the PGA Tour and then won the U.S. Open the next week.

"I wasn't worried about the Open today," Johnson said. "I was worried about winning the FedEx. Next is a whole different week."

Merrick remains winless in 154 career tour starts. He shot 69-272, recovering from a double bogey on which he hit twice into water.

"The wheels were coming off the train. Hung in there and made a good putt for double," Merrick said. "Hung in there, proud of myself."

Davis Love III, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, shot 69 and tied for third with O'Hern (69), Campbell (68) and Ryan Palmer (66) at 273. McIlroy, who heads to San Francisco and The Olympic Club to defend his U.S. Open title, had a 69 and tied three others at 274.

For a man who had missed three straight cuts coming to Memphis, McIlroy said he feels well prepared going into the U.S. Open after playing four straight rounds.

"Looking forward to getting to San Francisco, and I can take a lot from this week into next week," McIlroy said.

Tour officials pushed tee times up more than three hours and sent players off both tees in threesomes to avoid predicted thunderstorms.

More golf news

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.