Dustin Johnson plays his shot from the 13th tee during the final round of the 2017 Sentry Tournament of Champions. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By Christopher Powers
It was the Dustin Johnson show on Sunday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and no one else stood a chance. The World No. 1 lapped the field, cruising to a final-round eight-under 65, the low round of the tournament, eight strokes clear of next closest competitor at 24-under 268. It’s the 17th victory of his PGA Tour career, and his second at Kapalua.
Johnson, 33, began running away early, posting a four-under 32 on the front nine of the Plantation Course and opening up a six-shot lead. It was clear from the start that there was no way he was going to allow a repeat of his final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
“After China, where I struggled a bit on Sunday, I didn’t want that to happen again,” he said. “Even when I made the turn and I think I was at 20 under, I told myself my goal was to get it to 25 [under]. I just kept the pedal down making the turn and played really well again on the backside, too.”
He did flinch, if for a brief moment, at the par-3 11th, making his only bogey of the round from a greenside bunker. That was quickly forgotten when he hit an enormous drive at the 433-yard par-4 12th to within tap in range for eagle for the second straight day. From there he added birdies at 14, 15 and 16 to win by eight, giving him a PGA Tour victory in 11 straight seasons, making him one of 10 players to accomplish the streak.
Jon Rahm’s four-under 69 wouldn’t be enough, but it earned him a solo second finish in his first appearance at the Tournament of Champions. It’s his 11th finish inside the top five in just 37 starts on the PGA Tour and is expected to move him up from No. 4 spot to No. 3 on the World Ranking.
Playing alongside Johnson in the final group was Brian Harman, who posted a one-under 72 to finish in solo third. He’s now finished eighth or better in all four starts of his 2017-’18 campaign.
Hideki Matsuyama, Pat Perez and Rickie Fowler tied for fourth at 14-under 278. Matsuyama’s bogey-free seven-under 66 was his low round of the week, featuring five birdies and an eagle. Perez posted a four-under 69, one better than Fowler’s three-under 70. All three of them have now finished inside the top 5 in each of their last two appearances at Kapalua.
Finishing in a tie for seventh at 13-under 279 were Marc Leishman and Jhonattan Vegas. Jordan Spieth came in one shot behind them at 12-under 280 after firing a final-round four-under 69.