OAKVILLE (ONTARIO, CANADA) – Given his status as the world’s No. 1 player, Dustin Johnson might be forgiven if he occasionally would rest on his laurels and his sublime talent while showing some complacency.
That certainly was not the case on Sunday as Johnson fashioned a final-round, 6-under-par 66 to finish at 23-under 265 and garner a three-shot victory in the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.
South Koreans Whee Kim and Byeong Hun An, who were tied for the lead with Johnson and Kevin Tway entering the final round, finished tied for second place after both recorded 69s on Sunday.
Johnson’s connection with Canada runs deep, as he is the domestic partner of Paulina Gretzky, daughter of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. The 34-year-old South Carolina native was a crowd favorite, and he reveled in the glow.
“Coming up here to Canada and winning, especially on a golf course where I’ve had success, it means a lot,” Johnson said. “Obviously having a lot of ties to Canada with Paulina, and her dad, makes it a lot more fun playing out here in front of a big crowd. I had a lot of support this week, and it was a lot of fun.”
Keegan Bradley fired an 8-under 64 to post the low score in the final round and climb nine spots into solo fourth at 19 under.
Bradley’s bogey-free round included five birdies, three on the final trio of holes, and an eagle from the fairway with a 151-yard shot on the par-4 ninth.
“It’s probably my most tidy short game and putting tournament since I switched away from the belly putter,” Bradley said. “So really big step forward for me, and it’s so fun to be able to play with a chance to win. It’s just something that I love, and it was fun this week.”
Johnson birdied three of his first eight holes to forge a three-shot lead over Kim and An before play was suspended for an hour and 49 minutes because of rain and lightning.
The lead shrunk to two shots after Johnson bogeyed the 12th, but the edge moved back to three strokes after he birdied the par-5 16th. Johnson was never really challenged down the stretch, looking as comfortable as one can as an experienced and talented front-runner, finishing with seven birdies and the lone bogey.
Johnson now has three victories in three straight years, the first golfer to do so since Tiger Woods from 2007-09.
Abraham Ancer of Mexico forged a 67 on Sunday to finish alone in fifth at 17 under. England’s Tommy Fleetwood (also 67) and New Zealand’s Danny Lee (68) tied for sixth another shot in arrears.
Twenty-one Canadians began the week contesting for their national championship, and seven made the cut. Mackenzie Hughes was the top Canadian finisher, tying for eighth place at 15 under after a 68 on Sunday. He recorded four rounds in the 60s.
“It’s tough,” Hughes said of the pressure of carrying the mantle as a Canadian hope. “It’s great to win in front of your home crowd, but also tough at the same time. You feel just a slight additional pressure put on you. But I relish it. It’s been a great week, and I’m forward to just building on it next week.”
Equaling Hughes’ 72-hole score and finishing in eighth at 15 under were Andrew Putnam (67 on Sunday), Brandt Snedeker (67), and Joel Dahman (69).
Johnson, the leader in the FedExCup standings, posted his 11th top-10 finish of the year while winning for the 19th time in his PGA Tour career. Johnson missed the cut in last week’s Open Championship in Scotland after finishing third in the U.S. Open in June.
“Even after the missed cut last week, I felt like I was hitting it fine,” Johnson said. “I just did not score very well at Carnoustie at all. I didn’t putt good. I just scored really badly.
“So I worked on it a little bit this week. I felt like even coming in here, I was swinging it well, doing everything really well. Started rolling the putter a lot better here this week. You know, really, really hit the ball well all four days.”
Tway, the second-round leader and third-round co-leader, was trying to win his first PGA Tour title in the event where his father, Bob Tway, won the last of his Tour titles 15 years ago. He struggled to a 76 on Sunday and ended up tied for 17th.
This is the final year the Canadian Open will be held at Glen Abbey, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus to host the country’s national championship. Developers have proposed that the site be used for housing.
Next year this tournament will move to Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario, with plans to return to that course in 2023. Golf Canada wants to rotate the tournament around some of the traditional courses in the Toronto area.
The PGA Tour will have dual events next week — the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, and the Barracuda Championship at Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nevada.
–Field Level Media