Dominant Dustin Johnson Blows Field Away at Kapalua
DUSTIN JOHNSON put the memory of his final-round collapse at the HSBC Champions in China well and truly behind him as he romped to an eight-shot victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. The world number one produced a superb final round of 65 for a 72-hole total of 268, 24 under par as he recorded his 17th PGA Tour victory.
The highlight came at the par-four 12th hole, which measures 430 yards. Johnson sent his tee shot soaring into the sky and watched as it tumbled down the hill and finished inches from the hole, leaving him a tap-in for an eagle two. Johnson had begun the day with a three-shot lead which he quickly extended to four. By the time he reached the turn he was six in front, and that eagle took him eight ahead.
“When I'm out there playing the only thing I'm focused on is the shot that I got to hit next. If my mind's wandering and thinking about other things, then I'm not going to have a good day,” Johnson said. “But if I can stay focused just on what I'm supposed to be doing, the shot I want to hit, and the next shot that I'm going to hit, then that's how I have success. Golf is so funny, it really doesn't matter what you did yesterday. This game, it changes very, very easily. So, for me, it's just all about pushing forward, and you can't change anything that happened in the past. You can only control what you're going to do.”
Johnson has a history of throwing away 54-hoile leads, starting at the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach, where a meltdown allowed Graeme McDowell to take his first major. He led the HSBC Champions in Shanghai by six shots after three rounds last year and appeared to be cruising towards yet another title but he stumbled to a 77 and Justin Rose shot a final round of 67 to beat Johnson by two shots.
And the first trophy of 2018 goes to ... pic.twitter.com/ZgGhcklSvE— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 8, 2018
But he was never in danger here. Johnson has now won at least one PGA Tour event in all 11 of his seasons since his rookie year in 2008 – the longest active streak on Tour. Only Tiger Woods, with 18 wins, has more tournament victories in that time.
Last season Johnson won four times, marking the best year of his career, and he said in Hawaii that he believed it was possible for somebody to win eight times or more in a year. “It's a good start if I want to do it. I got off to the right start, for sure,” he said. “Winning every year out here on Tour so far is big for me. I'm very proud of being able to do that. It's not easy to win out here. A lot of seasons I've only had one win, but last year was my most and hopefully I can do even better than that this year.
“I want a lot more wins. First I want to get to 20, then 30 and once there 40,” he added.
Last year he enjoyed a purple patch during which he won three successive tournaments - the Genesis Open, WGC Mexico Championship and WGC Dell Matchplay.
Of that drive at the 12th he said:“I could see it until it landed, and I knew that it was on a good line. Obviously you have to get a nice bounce. I know exactly where I want it to come down out of the air and it did,” Johnson said. So I knew it was going to be pretty good I just didn't think I was going to have a tap-in.”
Jon Rahm, of Spain, shot a 69 to claim second place on his own, one ahead of Brian Harman. Pat Perez and Hideki Matsuyama shared four place, which was good enough to take Perez to the top of the FedEx Cup standings.
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