Golf

Dustin Johnson cruises to first Masters triumph

World number one shoots record low total of 20-under at Augusta to secure second major by five strokes, as Tiger Woods takes 10 on a par-3.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Dustin Johnson claimed a stunning victory in golf's Masters on Sunday (15 November),

The world number one came into the final day of the final men's major of the season with a four-stroke lead, and his win rarely looked in doubt.

The American carded a final round of 68 to post a record Masters low 20-under-par total of 268 and claim victory by five strokes from Australia's Cameron Smith and Korean Sungjae Im.

It was a second and long overdue major triumph for 36-year-old Johnson who, since winning the 2016 US Open, had finished second in last year's Masters and the last two PGA Championships.

He struggled to hold back the tears in his post-tournament interview having clinched the title he wanted most.

"It's a dream come true. As a kid I always dreamed about being a Masters champion... It's hard to talk. It's just incredible as you can tell." - an emotional Dustin Johnson after winning the 84th Masters Tournament

Woods recovers after worst hole

Defending champion Tiger Woods was having an indifferent round until he had one of the worst holes of his career.

The 15-time major winner found the water three times, including once from a greenside bunker, as he signed for a 10 on the par-3 12th.

Woods then rallied superbly, retrieving five of those seven dropped shots in the last six holes to finish on one-under.

Green Jacket for DJ

The Masters was Johnson's second tournament back after testing positive for coronavirus in mid-October.

Having already travelled to Las Vegas for the CJ Cup, he had to go into quarantine in his hotel for 11 days and stop practice.

He returned at the Houston Open and ended up tied for second behind Carlos Ortiz to make it six top-six finishes in succession.

And back at Augusta, where he had made the top 10 in his last four appearances, he showed he meant business right from the start.

He was three-under when rain stopped play early on Thursday, but returned on Friday morning to post a seven-under-par 65 and share the lead with Paul Casey and Dylan Frittelli.

Johnson looked like moving clear as, starting on the 10th, he birdied three of his first four holes to go to 10-under.

Bogeys at 14 and 15 sent him back to the pack and he ended the day on nine-under, tied for the lead with Cameron Smith, Abraham Ancer, world number two Jon Rahm and world number three Justin Thomas.

But it was Saturday, 'Moving Day', where he took an iron grip on the tournament.

Johnson - with his brother Austin carrying the bag - almost holed his second shot on the par-5 second, leaving him a tap-in for eagle.

Birdies followed on three, four and seven with two more on the par-5s on the back nine - the 13th and 15th - as he carded his second 65 of the week to go to 16-under, four strokes clear of the field.

And apart from a minor wobble early on in his final round, the destination of the Green Jacket was rarely in doubt.

Having made birdie on the third for the second day running, the 36-year-old dropped shots at the next two holes to give his rivals a glimmer of hope at Augusta.

Smith moved to within two strokes at one stage, but Johnson was quickly back into his stride, birdying the par-3 sixth hole before taking his chances on the par-5s thanks to some wonderful short irons into the green, which helped seal victory.

He was greeted on the green by his fiancée Paulina Gretzky, daughter of ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

As per tradition, last year's winner Woods placed the Green Jacket on him in the Butler Cabin.

Afterwards Johnson said, "Having Tiger put the Green Jacket on you still feels like a dream. But I'm here and what a great feeling it is. I could not be more excited. To have the scoring record is a great honour.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to experience all this with my brother Austin. I love him being on my bag. I wouldn't want anyone else there. He was tearing up and making me tear up, and I was like, 'I’ve still got to finish this off, I can’t be crying!' It was a lot of fun and I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.

"It's an incredible feeling. I played unbelievable golf all week." - Dustin Johnson

Thomas was fourth on 12-under, one ahead of Frittelli and Rory McIlroy who still needs the Masters to complete his full set of majors.

Rahm was tied for seventh with four-time major winner Brooks Koepka and Chinese Taipei's C.T. Pan while Olympic champion Justin Rose finished in a share of 23rd place on five-under.

US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who was the talk of Augusta ahead of the tournament after his big hitting tamed Winged Foot, was found wanting with his short game and ended tied for 34th on two-under.