Johnson, the joint runner-up last week, begins round four one ahead Ian Poulter who was very much in the firing line at Augusta before a last round 73 saw him finish 12th.
The man who made a great run during the final round at the Masters, Patrick Cantlay, is in a large group just two from the lead.
Johnson, the current world number one, is playing the event for just the second occasion in the last ten years and today, in strong gusty winds, he appeared to be heading for a significant lead before two late bogeys saw him finish with a round of 68 and the one-shot buffer.
Johnson actually missed the green on each of the last three holes in the blustery conditions but was able to save par at the last.
Poulter has played this event well in recent years and appears to have a game suited to the style of course that Harbor Town Links presents. His round of 67 today was made even more impressive given he opened round 3 with a double bogey.
Cantlay produced a final round of 64 last Sunday to finish just three shots from Tiger Woods and with an impressive record at the RBC Heritage his bogey free third round of 66 has given him a great chance to improve on his last two starts at Hilton Head when 3rd and 7th.
South African Rory Sabbatini, whose game appears to be returning to near its best in recent weeks, shares second place with Poulter and Ireland's Shane Lowry who at one stage today was three ahead of the field.
Not that the chances end there however with a total of twelve players within three shots of Johnson’s lead.
Marc Leishman was the only Australian to make the cut but is well back in 61st place after a round of 74 today.
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