Johnson wins in windy Kapalua|
Maui, HI (Sports Network) - Dustin Johnson carded a 5-under 68 on Tuesday to
post a 4-stroke victory at the windy, weather-shortened Hyundai Tournament of
The PGA Tour's season-opening event didn't officially begin until Monday --
the day it was scheduled to conclude -- due to heavy winds at the
Plantation Course at Kapalua. The extreme conditions forced organizers to
shorten the tournament to 54 holes, with 36 taking place on a marathon
Johnson emerged from that gauntlet with a 3-stroke lead over defending
champion Steve Stricker and then maintained the edge during the first Tuesday
finish since the 2006 Booz Allen Classic. The 28-year-old wrapped up 54 holes
at 16-under 203 to capture his seventh PGA Tour title.
"It gives me a lot of confidence going into the year," Johnson said of the
victory. "I'm very pleased to come out and get a win this week. I played
really good golf the last two days."
With the win, Johnson became the first player since Tiger Woods (1996-2001) to
win a tournament six consecutive years out of college.
Stricker, who was dealing with a nerve problem in his upper thigh, shot a 69
and ended alone in second place at 12-under. Brandt Snedeker (69) placed third
at 10-under, while Bubba Watson (71) and Keegan Bradley (70) tied for fourth
Rickie Fowler (67) and Tommy Gainey (70) tied for sixth at 8-under, Carl
Pettersson (70) placed eighth at 7-under, and Ian Poulter (69) and Matt Kuchar
(69) tied for ninth at minus-5.
Johnson, who has now won the last three 54-hole PGA Tour events, never
relinquished the lead on Tuesday despite challenges from both Stricker and
Early on, Snedeker went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie from Nos. 3 - 6 to pull
within a stroke of Johnson. The threat quickly quelled, however, when Snedeker
closed his front nine with three consecutive bogeys.
Johnson took advantage and pushed his lead to five shots with a two-foot
birdie tap-in at No. 6 and a left-to-right birdie roll from just inside 10
feet on No. 7.
Stricker stayed close with back-to-back birdies at the conclusion of his
opening nine and Johnson saw his lead shrink to two strokes when he sent his
tee shot on No. 9 into the high grass and was forced to settle for a bogey.
Johnson pushed the margin back to three with a birdie on the 12th, but another
errant tee shot on No. 13 resulted in a double bogey for the leader, which
allowed Stricker to pull within a single shot.
The unpredictable yet impressive round continued for Johnson on the par-4
14th when he sent his tee shot several yards short of green, then bounced
his chip into the cup for an eagle. When Stricker's birdie putt came to rest
of the lip of the hole, Johnson's lead was back to three.
Stricker managed a single birdie the rest of the way, while Johnson turned the
trick on Nos. 15 and 18 to secure the victory.
"It's tough when you have a 3-shot lead to stay aggressive but I think I
stayed aggressive all day, I just hit a couple bad drives ... cost me a
shots ... but other than that I played really good golf today," Johnson
NOTES: The last two 54-hole PGA Tour events that Johnson won were the 2011
Barclays (Hurricane Irene) and the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
(rain) ... Stricker has posted five top-10 finishes in the last six years of
01/08 19:51:18 ET