Johnson sees off late challengers to win at WGC in Mexico

Bernie McGuire
Bernie McGuire

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Dustin Johnson held off late challengers in the final round at the WGC  Mexico Championship to win by one shot on 14 under par.

What’s the best way to celebrate becoming the number one player in the world?  By going out and winning in your very next start of course.

Dustin Johnson went and did that very thing at the WGC Mexico Championship at the weekend, dispelling any doubts that he is in fact the in-form player in the world right now and fully deserves his #1 ranking.

It was a stacked leaderboard heading into the final round with Justin Thomas at the top but the chasing pack included Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and a course record setting Jordan Spieth, and we were salivating at the thought of a showdown coming down the stretch on Sunday evening.  It was a showdown alright but unfortunately it wasn’t McIlroy, Mickelson or Spieth who put the challenge. As Thomas fell away (+1 for his final round) it was Johnson who took charge and it was Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood who provided the challenge.

Rahm was right in the thick of it until he dropped shots at both 16 and 17 and finished two shots off the pace on 12 under.  Fleetwood, with an audacious putt on 18, put some pressure on DJ coming up the last as he closed to within one stroke but even finding the fairway bunker off the tee wasn’t enough to deter a very focused Johnson and he duly found the green and two putted for the win.

After his win Dustin Johnson said, “It means a lot because World Number One is a tough spot to be in. There’s a lot of pressure on you but I came out and I played really well. I hit the ball great all week. The greens are tough to putt on and I didn’t feel like I putted my best, but I really hit the ball well and played just well enough I guess because I won by one.”

“It’s tough to beat the best player in the world, isn’t it?”, commented Fleetwood. “It was a great back nine.  I think started pretty well after all a couple bad shots. So I felt comfortable on the back nine and made the most of those two par 5s and a couple more birdies at the last. I wasn’t overly worried about where the leaders were. Dustin and Jon kind of came backwards a little bit. I didn’t know what Jon was doing, I don’t know if he made a couple bogeys or double bogey or something. To be honest, I was kind of looking at trying to get third on my own at one stage, and then before you know it I saw the scores on the last green and I thought I might have a chance at winning it.  But it was a really good putt on the last.  It was a big one.  It would have been nice to get in a playoff and see how we did, but overall it was a good day”, he added.

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