Former World No. 1 Dustin Johnson celebrated his 36th birthday with a 21st Tour success posting a 19-under par tally in capturing the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
Johnson headed into the final round sharing second place at 16-under par and two from the lead on the TPC River Highlands course.
Overnight third round leader, Brendon Todd stalled with nine outward pars to open the victory door for Johnson to capitalise with three outward birdies, including birdies at eight and nine, and just the one bogey to make the turn leading by two shots at 19-under par.
‘DJ’ then went three clear of his rivals with a birdie on 10 ahead of a second bogey in his round at the 13th before regaining the shot in sinking a 16-footer for birdie at the par-4 14th hole and moving to 20-under par.
He had to take off his shoes and socks and roll-up his trousers to just below his knees in playing a shot from just inside a water hazard on 15 where he saved par.
Todd, playing alongside Johnson, had fallen outside the top-10 in posting a horror triple-bogey ‘7’ at the 12th hole and dropped to four-over for his round with a further dropped shot at the 14th.
While Todd was slipping down the board, it was Kevin Streelman taking it to Johnson in picking-up three shots through 13 holes to move to 18-under par and two adrift of ‘DJ’.
The 41-year old Streelman captured just a second Tour title in winning the 2004 Travelers Championship with the current World No. 95 looking to end a long six-year victory drought.
There was added drama when officials sounded a ‘bad weather’ warning siren that halted play leaving Johnson on the par-3 16th tee and Streelman on the 17th tee.
After a near hour delay, Johnson was in trouble in taking a bogey from a greenside bunker at the 16th and dropped back to 19-under par.
Johnson then pared both the 17th and closing hole in his round of 67 to win by a shot at 19-under par from Streelman who also shot a round of 67 to finish on 18-under par.
Johnson’s win is his first taste of success since capturing the February 2019 WGC – Mexico Championship.
“Yeah, it’s very exciting to get my 21st win and then get my first win of the season,” said Johnson.
“It was big because I hadn’t played very well. But I put in a lot of good work the last couple weeks after Colonial, and so it’s nice to see the game just start coming around.
“Yeah, it was definitely strange playing with no fans, but you still can feel the pressure, you still can feel how important a golf tournament it is, and you’re coming down the stretch, to me it felt the same, whether it was a million fans or zero.
“You know, but it was strange not seeing a whole bunch of people around the 18th green.”
Dustin Johnson (following Travelers Championship)
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- Followed his lowest opening 54-hole total (194) on the PGA TOUR with a 3-under 67 to claim his 21st title in his 267th start six days removed from his 36th birthday
- With the win, moves to No. 22 in the FedExCup standings; has advanced to the season-ending TOUR Championship 10 of the last 11 seasons (2014)
- His T79 after round one marks the lowest first-round position by a winner of the Travelers Championship since 1983.
- Of 19 stroke-play events won before this week, had never been lower than T28 after the first round
- With the win, extends his streak of winning at least one PGA TOUR event to 13 consecutive seasons
- Victory comes in his fourth appearance at the Travelers Championship; 2020/1st, 2014/T31, 2009/WD, 2008/T34
- Win marks his third top-10 finish in seven starts this season (T7/Sentry Tournament of Champions, T10/The Genesis Invitational) and 99th of his TOUR career
- Since the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf, followed a pair of 71s at the Charles Schwab Challenge (MC) with eight consecutive rounds in the 60s. Finished T17 at the 2020 RBC Heritage