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Dustin Johnson cruised to his first title of the 2017 PGA Tour season, winning the Genesis Open by five shots Sunday at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
Johnson only finished at even par for the round, but that was more than enough to remain ahead of Thomas Pieters and Scott Brown, who tied for second at 12-under. Justin Rose, Wesley Bryan, Kevin Na and Charley Hoffman finished in a four-way tie for fourth.
Johnson collected a little over $1.2 million for his effort, per ESPN.com:
Not only did Johnson earn his first tournament win of the year, he also moved into first place in the World Golf Ranking, per Golf Channel. The achievement elicited congratulations from some of his peers, including Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter:
Congrats @DJohnsonPGA on @genesisopen win and new #1!! Fun to watch #bestintheworld
— Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker) February 20, 2017
Bro @DJohnsonPGA you’re good at golf!! Congrats on being #1 in the world!!
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) February 20, 2017
Congratulations @DJohnsonPGA on becoming world No.1 and winning this week. Impressive stuff. 👍🏻🏆🥇
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) February 20, 2017
Johnson had one hand on the trophy after the third round, which concluded Sunday as a result of weather delays earlier in the tournament. He wrapped up the round with three straight birdies on the final three holes to build a six-shot lead heading into Round 4.
According to Golf Channel researcher Justin Ray, Mike Weir was the last golfer to shoot 17 under through 54 holes en route to his second straight victory at the Nissan Open in 2004.
PGA Tour accurately summed up Johnson’s position after three rounds:
Birdie – Birdie – Birdie
That’s how Dustin Johnson finished his third round.
He leads by six. pic.twitter.com/Ou5svckplX
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 19, 2017
Lanny Wadkins holds the course record after winning the 1985 Los Angeles Open with a final score of 20-under. Johnson flirted with history after picking up three birdies in the first six holes of his final round to tie Wadkins’ mark.
Skratch tweeted he was coasting past the competition with nine holes to go:
Live look at @DJohnsonPGA making the turn … pic.twitter.com/KqFDCYuQpK
— Skratch (@Skratch) February 19, 2017
A bogey on the ninth hole and another two on Nos. 15 and 16 prevented the 32-year-old from writing his name in the record book. The three bogeys were two more than he had had in the three previous rounds combined.
Failing to match or best Wadkins’ record won’t take any of the shine off Johnson’s win.
Johnson was already among the early favorites to capture the 2017 Masters in April, and his Genesis Open performance further cements his status as one of the top contenders at Augusta National Golf Club.
ESPN.com’s Jason Sobel noted how Johnson’s impressive play stretches back nearly a year:
In the past nine months, Dustin Johnson has finished eighth or better in 14 of his 18 tournament starts. That’s unbelievable consistency.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) February 20, 2017
He finished in the top 10 at each of the last two Masters, and winning the 2016 U.S. Open will have eased some of the pressure by giving him that elusive first major tournament victory.
No golfer in the world is hotter than Johnson right now. He has a few more events ahead before he makes the trip to eastern Georgia. As long as he can maintain a similar pace to where he is at the moment, a green jacket could be in Johnson’s near future.
Pieters closed with a final-round 63, but the 25-year-old Belgian knew he was fighting a losing battle.
“I knew I couldn’t go 14 under on nine holes,” he said after the tournament, per the Los Angeles Times‘ John Cherwa.
Johnson said he pretty much coasted to the finish, per the Associated Press (h/t USA Today): “I didn’t finish the last 10 holes the way I’d like to, but I had a pretty good lead. I was on cruise control.”
Regarding Johnson’s status as the No. 1 golfer in the world, Bryan said it was only a matter of time before he reached the pinnacle: “Honestly, I’m surprised it took so long for him to get to No. 1 in the world. He’s got all the talent that you could ever want in a golfer.”