PACIFIC PALISADES, United States: Dustin Johnson powered to a five-stroke victory in the Genesis Open on Sunday that will propel him to number one in the world for the first time in his career. Pulling double duty in the weather-disrupted US PGA Tour event at Riviera Country Club, Johnson used his formidable length off the tee and a sure putting stroke to build a big lead and held on down the stretch. He followed up third-round 64 with an even par final round of 71 for a 17-under par total of 267. He led by as many as nine strokes before a few missteps at the end of the long day, but with the win will end Australian Jason Day’s 47-week reign atop the rankings.
Day could have maintained his position by finishing at least tied for third but closed with rounds of 75 and 71 to finish equal 64th on two-over 286.
With number one on the line, Johnson made a blistering start to his 36-hole on Sunday, piling up seven birdies in his third round.
That included three straight birdies to cap the round — a streak he continued when he returned barely 20 minutes later to open his final round with back-to-back birdies.
A birdie at the sixth moved him to 20-under for the tournament. His run of 49 holes without a bogey ended at the ninth.
Back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 saw his lead shrink, but in the end meant nothing.
Belgian Thomas Pieters had eight birdies in a final-round 63 that pulled him into a share of second place on 12-under 272. He was tied with Scott Brown, who closed with a 67.
England’s Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose had an eagle and four birdies in a three-under par 68 to head a group sharing third on 11-under 273.
That included PGA Tour rookie Wesley Bryan, who started the final round in second, five shots behind Johnson.
Bryan, a three-time winner on the Web.com developmental tour last year, followed his third-round 63 with a one-over 72. Kevin Na shot a 70 and Charley Hoffman signed for a 67 to join the group on 11-under.
The frantic race to finish 72 holes by nightfall followed a first-round fog-delay and a Friday storm that prevented most players from completing the second round.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” said Johnson, who became the 20th player to reach number one since the rankings were instituted in 1986. “It’s going to push me to work even harder and to try to get even better.” — AFP
Genesis Open final scores
(USA unless noted):
267 – Dustin Johnson 66-66-64-71
272 – Thomas Pieters (BEL) 70-68-71-63, Scott Brown 68-68-69-67
273 – Justin Rose (ENG) 69-71-65-68, Wesley Bryan 69-69-63-72, Kevin Na 67-69-67-70, Charley Hoffman 68-68-70-67
274 – Martin Laird (SCO) 70-68-70-66, Ollie Schniederjans 68-69-69-68, Cameron Tringale 69-64-71-70
275 – Jimmy Walker 70-70-66-69, Adam Scott (AUS) 68-69-68-70, Noh Seung-Yul (KOR) 71-70-67-67, Bill Haas 71-71-64-69
276 – Charles Howell 70-67-70-69, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 67-68-72-69
277 – KJ Choi (KOR) 70-70-69-68, JJ Henry 69-69-70-69, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 73-68-68-68, Luke Donald (ENG) 68-68-71-70, JT Poston 66-69-73-69
278 – Matt Kuchar 69-68-73-68, Branden Grace (RSA) 67-70-69-72, Jason Kokrak 67-70-72-69, Kang Sung (KOR) 71-70-68-69, Jordan Spieth 69-68-72-69, Patrick Rodgers 68-67-70-73