MEXICO CITY – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The world’s new No. 1 player, Dustin Johnson, won his second event in a row, firing a final-round 3-under-par 68 on Sunday to hold on and take the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in Mexico City.
Johnson, who won the Genesis Open near Los Angeles on Feb. 19, led by four shots after finishing the front nine, but hit two bogeys on the back nine. He provided some excitement on the final hole by hitting into a fairway bunker. But he hit his shot from the bunker onto the 18th green. From there he two-putted to edge Tommy Fleetwood of England.
Johnson, who finished with a 14-under score of 270, is the fifth player to win in his first tournament at the No. 1 spot.
“It means a lot, obviously,” Johnson said. “It’s a tough spot to be in. There’s a lot of pressure on you. And I came out and played really well. I felt like I hit the ball great all week. You know the greens, they’re tough to putt on.”
Fleetwood matched his third-round score of 66 with another 66 on Sunday to finish alone at 13-under. He sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to assure himself a berth in the Masters.
One stroke behind Fleetwood were Ross Fisher of England, who had a final-round 65, and rookie Jon Rahm of Spain, who had a final-round 68. Rahm had an eagle and two birdies at Chapultepec Golf Club to challenge Johnson, but added bogeys on consecutive holes, the 16th and 17th, to drop out contention.
Justin Thomas of the United States, who led the field by one stroke after three rounds, shot a 72 on Sunday and finished at 11-under, tied with Thomas Pieters for fifth place.
Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, who started two shots behind, did not challenge at the end as both shot 71 for the day and finished tied for seventh at 10-under. Mickelson had a bogey on the first hole and a double-bogey on No. 8. McIlroy made only one birdie on the back nine,
Johnson started the tournament slowly, carding a 70 in the first round.
“It was frustrating,” Johnson said of Thursday’s round, “but I didn’t think it was anything I was doing wrong with the putter.”
He rallied for rounds of 66 on both Friday and Saturday, before his closing 68.
He had three birdies on the front nine Sunday, but made things interesting by getting bogeys on the 12th and 13th. He got a birdie on the par-5 15th hole, and parred the last three holes to walk away with his 14th PGA Tour victory.
“I didn’t think I putted my best,” Johnson said, “but I really hit the ball well, and I played just well enough, I guess, because I won by one.