After Match Play, can anyone beat Dustin Johnson?
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 29, 2017,
Mar 29, 2017, 7:41
Dustin Johnson won the Match Play with more drama than he needed Sunday to cap off an otherwise dominant week that made him the first player to sweep the four current World Golf Championships events.
Since then, Johnson has won five times and risen to No. 1 in the world.
Tanihara hit two great shots, a flip wedge to a risky pin over the water on the 13th to 4 feet, and a long iron into the wind on the 14th to 6 feet, to win both holes and square the match.
However, Rahm won the ninth, tenth, 13th, 15th and 16th holes to peg it back to 1UP - Johnson won the 12th - but pars for both players on the final two holes meant that the American clung on.
Extra holes looked on the cards when Rahm drove to the back edge of the 18th green, but a awful chip took the pressure off Johnson and he safely made par from the fringe to secure the title.
Rahm's comeback bid fell short when he was unable to birdie the 18th to extend the match.
When Rahm's chip came up short of the steep hill on the green, he faced a near impossible birdie putt and missed, allowing Johnson to win the match by halving the hole with a par.
His wins in Mexico and Austin saw him join Tiger Woods as the only players to win back-to-back WGC titles.
It was not a boast, merely an honest response to being asked about the air of invincibility he has assumed with his dazzling displays since becoming world No 1.
But Rahm blamed his failure to hit the ball flush on a loud noise, believed to be a nearby slamming toilet door, for ruining his shot at the biggest win of his infant career and what would have been only his second victory in the professional ranks.
The screams you can hear echoing across the fairways are the distress calls of the world's best golfers in retreat from the beast that is Dustin Johnson. He either had one bad round at the wrong time, or ran into one hot player.
The big question is: can he keep it going? "Anytime I did something, if it could go wrong, it just went wrong", he said. After all, Day was on a similar run a year ago and never came close to winning at Augusta.
Rahm had beaten Bill Haas 3 and 2 in the semifinals, and Haas went on to beat Tanihara 2 and 1 in the consolation finals. "And I'm really proud of myself". An example is how he played the thirteenth hole in this finals match, when he was three down to Johnson.
"There's still a lot of room for improvement in all aspects of my game; my wedges can definitely get better and so can the mid-irons", he said.
After playing 112 holes in five days on his way to recording his third title in succession, it was probably a wise move on the 32-year-old's behalf as he concentrates on winning his first green jacket.
Lee, 26, tied the tournament record set in 2015 by Cristie Kerr, who tracked down Lee with a 65 to win by two strokes.
At 13, Rahm drove the green and two-putted for a birdie that left him just 3 down again.
That was the sum measure of the distance by which Rahm, seeded 21st in the event, missed putts over the first eight holes.
Ryu (66) and Austin Ernst (67) of Greenville, South Carolina, tied for second at 14-under.