Johnson holds on to beat Rahm in Match Play final
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[March 27, 2017]
(Reuters) - American Dustin
Johnson became the first player to win all four World Golf
Championships events when he claimed the WGC-Dell Match Play in
Texas on Sunday.
World number one and top seed Johnson beat Spanish 21st seed Jon
Rahm 1-up in the 18-hole final at Austin Country Club.
Johnson built a 5-up lead after eight holes and held on, though only
barely, after a late Rahm rally that cut the lead to 1-up after 16
“Today was a really tough day. I’m proud of the way I played, the
way I stayed in there, even though he (Rahm) made some birdies on
the back nine,” Johnson told NBC television after sinking his
winning putt from inside three feet at the final hole.
Johnson earlier barely survived his semi-final against 54th seed
Hideto Tanihara, winning 1-up after the Japanese player missed a
good chance to win the 18th hole.
Rahm beat American 42nd seed Bill Haas 3&2 in the other semi.
It was Johnson's third consecutive victory, after he won the event
formerly known as the Los Angeles Open and then the WGC-Mexico
Johnson's five WGC titles puts him second behind Tiger Woods, who
Johnson said the key to victory had been avoiding mistakes.
“I didn’t give him any holes, except for 10 (where) I three-putted.
It was tough out there. The greens got really fast, the wind was
affecting all the putts. Jon played really well. I just didn’t
really give him anything.”
In a final that matched two of the game’s longest hitters, Johnson
looked set to cruise to victory thanks to his big early lead, but it
got interesting near the end.
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Dustin Johnson of the United States plays against Jon Rahm of Spain
during the final round of the World Golf Classic - Dell Match Play
golf tournament at Austin Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Erich
Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Rahm, 3-down with four holes left, came to life, winning the
par-four 15th with a birdie before taking the par-five 16th with
another birdie, sinking a 30-footer after an astonishing second shot
from the rough that he somehow threaded through an oak tree.
Rahm then drove through the green at the par-four 18th, ending up
over the back, from where, perhaps distracted by a loud sudden
banging noise just as he started his swing, he misjudged his 80-foot
chip shot and could only par, allowing Johnson to escape with the
In the match for third place, Haas beat Tanihara 2&1, though the
loser at least enjoyed a hole-in-one at the par-three seventh.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene
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