Dustin Johnson makes history with win at WGC Dell Match Play

Dustin Johnson of the United States holds up The Walter Hagen Trophy after beating Jon Rahm of Spain in the final round of the World Golf Classic - Dell Match Play golf tournament at Austin Country Club.

In the semifinal, Johnson was forced beyond the 16th hole for the first time all week in an error-filled finish against Hideto Tanihara of Japan, and the world's No. 1 played didn't escape until he holed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th to preserve a 1-up victory.

Overcoming Jon Rahm's bold charge in the final hour, Johnson closed with a par Sunday to win the title match 1-up.

Via CBSSports.com, this is the first time a PGA Tour golfer has had three tournament victories in a row since Rory McIlroy won The Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship in the summer of 2014. "Not very fast. Sometimes it gets going pretty good".

"After a great deal of thought and consultation with my team, I have made a decision to withdraw from this week's Shell Houston Open, " Johnson said in a statement. Johnson will be participating in the event giving him a chance to gain even more momentum heading into Masters week.

Until then, Johnson had led after each of the 71 holes he had played at Austin Country Club. I feel like I'm driving the ball great.

Rahm, in his first year on tour and already a victor at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this season in San Diego, knocked drives past his famously long opponent and eventually pulling back to within one hole after birdieing the 13th, 15th and 16th holes, the latter on a 32-foot putt that sought out the hole like a laser.

"I was always kind of top 10 for a long time, then starting last summer after I won the U.S. Open, just kind of propelled me a little bit, got a lot of confidence in the game", Johnson said.

In the playoff for third and fourth, Haas beat Tanihara 2&1, though the loser at least enjoyed a hole-in-one at the par-three seventh.

NOTES: After the tournament's inaugural year, 1999, Geoff Ogilvy is the only player to win the WGC Match Play event in his first appearance, in 2006.

Rahm, who dispatched of Bill Haas in the semifinals, 3 and 2, wanted to face the hottest player in golf in the championship. "I'm just going to keep working hard, just keep trying to get better", Johnson said.

"I've got to make it to the finals first", Johnson said of his chance at history.

Ever since his win at the U.S Open a year ago, Johnson has been the best player on tour. I'm really proud of what I did, it was a great week.

In the two years since returning from a six-month sabbatical to address "personal challenges", he has finally reached the full measure of his potential as arguably the most naturally gifted athlete on tour. But I'm definitely pleased with the way I played.

"I just made a swing as hard as I could", Rahm said. He cut the deficit with another birdie at 15, then rolled in his birdie bomb at 16 after recovering from a tee shot into the trees.

"Man, I mean, what's to say?"

"It's been a long time to be victor of the tournament, so I kind of nervous before I start of game". The Brantford, Ont. veteran will tee it up this week at the Shell Houston Open hoping to build on his improving play.

  • Julie Sanders