Dustin Johnson won the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii for his third straight success in a weather- shortened event on golf’s U.S. PGA Tour.
Johnson shot 5-under-par 68 in the final round yesterday at the Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course in Maui to finish at 16- under-par 203, four strokes ahead of defending champion Steve Stricker, who was second, two shots ahead of Brandt Snedeker.
The tournament was cut to three rounds and ended a day late because windy conditions canceled play for three straight days. Johnson has won the past three PGA Tour events that have been cut to 54 holes -- including the 2011 Barclays Tournament at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey, which was shortened because of a hurricane, and the AT&T National at California’s Pebble Beach in 2009.
“I don’t know what it is,” Johnson told reporters. “I guess I’ve just got a good 54-hole vibe.”
Johnson, 28, has now won seven events on the world’s richest golf circuit and is the first player since Tiger Woods to win in each of his first six years on tour after leaving college. He receives $1.12 million for the victory in the season-opening event, which was contested by 30 of last year’s tournament winners.
“He’s just going to continue to get better,” Stricker, who was playing with nerve pain in his thigh, told reporters. “He’s got a lot of talent.”
A wayward drive at the par-4 13th hole cost Johnson a double bogey and he left the green nursing a one-shot lead after Stricker’s birdie attempt to tie him stopped on the lip of the cup.
Johnson made amends at the next, chipping in for an eagle at the short par-4 to restore his three-shot advantage as Stricker made par.
“That definitely was the turning point of the day, because walking off 13, I was like, ‘Oh no, here it goes again,’” Johnson said. “But I came right back, focused and hit two great shots.”
Johnson added birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to make certain of the win.
The second event on the 2013 calendar, the $5.7 million Sony Open, is scheduled to start Jan. 10 in Honolulu.
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