CWMALLS World Sports Sharing And Review Series – Masters 2020: Dustin Johnson wins at Augusta at record 20 under par

Masters final leaderboard
-20 D Johnson (US); -15 C Smith (Aus), S Im (Kor); -12 J Thomas (US); -11 R McIlroy (NI), D Frittelli (SA); -10 B Koepka (US), J Rahm (Spa)
Selected others: -6 T Fleetwood (Eng); -5 J Rose (Eng); -4 I Poulter (Eng), D Willett (Eng); -3 B Langer (Ger); -2B DeChambeau (US); -1 T Woods (US), P Casey (Eng), L Westwood (Eng)

World number one Dustin Johnson won his first Masters title by five strokes as he finished with a record-breaking low score of 20 under par at Augusta.

The American posted a four-under 68 on Sunday to hold off Australian Cameron Smith and South Korea’s Sungjae Im.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy’s brief charge came too late as he eventually finished nine shots back in tied fifth.

Defending champion Tiger Woods carded a 10 on the par-three 12th but recovered with five birdies to finish one under.

Pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau, who won the US Open in September, endured an erratic week and a final-day 73 put him on two under par for the tournament.

World number three Justin Thomas finished fourth at 12 under after carding a two-under 70 on the final day.

Johnson’s superb performance during this unprecedented November staging of the Masters saw him beat the record lowest winning score of 18 under par set by Woods in 1997 and Jordan Spieth in 2015.

“It’s hard. I was nervous all day. I could feel it,” said Johnson, who will defend his title in five months’ time when the Masters returns to its usual spot in April.

“The Masters is for me the biggest tournament and the one I wanted to win the most. I am just very proud of the way I handled myself and finished off the tournament.

“It still feels like a dream. As a kid, I was dreaming about winning the Masters and having Tiger put the Green Jacket on you still feels like a dream.

“But I am here and what a great feeling it is. I could not feel more excited.”

He also becomes the first world number one to win the tournament since Woods in 2002.

Smith, who finished tied for fifth in 2018, made history himself by becoming the first player to shoot all four of his rounds in the 60s at Augusta.

Imperious Johnson conquers Augusta

Johnson looked comfortable from the moment he arrived at Magnolia Lane this week, joking with reporters his favourite Masters tradition is the sandwiches. Pimento cheese? Just all of them…

On course, however, the poker-faced American gave nothing away as he held off the field to win his second major title, four years after his US Open victory, with barely a flicker of emotion.

Johnson had provided the calm after Thursday’s electrical storms delayed play on an otherwise frantic leaderboard that briefly saw nine players tied for top spot on Saturday.

The foundation for his victory was set with an opening 65 that gave him a share of the lead, and he had another 65 on Saturday to become the first player in Masters history to achieve such a feat and join Spieth as the only men to reach 16 under par after three rounds.

He is not a character who would hype the crowd into a frenzy like Woods last year, nor is he one to play the pantomime villain like 2018 champion Patrick Reed, so it is perhaps timely that Johnson’s first Green Jacket came at a tranquil Augusta National without patrons.

Not that the American would have been fazed by the roars that usually echo around the Augusta pines.

This was the world’s best player serenely producing sensational golf on one of the game’s most iconic stages.

He made a great par-save at two and birdied the third but successive bogeys followed as the impressive 22-year-old Im and Australian Smith applied pressure.

Johnson has previously failed to win major titles on four occasions after holding a 54-hole lead, but his steely focus never wavered, even when his lead was cut to one after five holes.

The 36-year-old recovered with a birdie on the par-three sixth as Im made his first bogey of the day and another birdie at eight saw Johnson lead Smith by two as he headed to the back nine.

Smith, in the group ahead, had been scrambling superbly but bogeyed 11 to hand the leader a three-stroke advantage once more.

Johnson came to Augusta having won the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and in great form despite missing two tournaments while in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.

He successfully negotiated Amen Corner with a birdie at 13 and made it three in a row through 14 and 15 to accelerate to 20 under par.

There was finally time for a beaming smile as he tapped in for par at the 18th to complete his impressive victory to a smattering of applause from the lucky few gathered round the green.

McIlroy’s challenge comes too late

McIlroy posted three rounds in the 60s at Augusta this week, but they came after the world number five had opened with a 75.

Had it not been for his struggles in the first round the 31-year-old would surely have been in contention for a first Green Jacket and the chance to become just the sixth player to win a career Grand Slam.

After rounds of 66 and 67, the four-time major winner followed up with a 69 on Sunday that included four birdies, a bogey and an impressive par-save after finding the water at 15.

“I will look back on this week and rue what happened,” he said. “After the 75 I played well, had to shoot a good score to be here for the weekend and played solid.

“I wasn’t really think about trying to win the tournament. When I reached 11 under and DJ was at 15 under I thought ‘maybe’, but then the wind got up.

“Hopefully we get back to a normal Masters in a few months’ time, but I’m going to try and adopt this attitude and this approach.”

Tommy Fleetwood finished highest among the English contingent at six under par, with two-time runner-up Justin Rose at five under and 2016 champion Danny Willett a further stroke back alongside Ian Poulter.

Tiger’s imperfect 10

Woods returned to Augusta looking to win a sixth Green Jacket but was out of contention by the time he teed of in Sunday’s final round.

It did not stop the 15-time major champion producing one of the most remarkable moments of the tournament when he carded a 10 at the par-three Golden Bell.

Woods’ tee shot rolled back off the green into Rae’s Creek, as did his third after taking a drop, and he then found the water again after clipping out of a bunker.

The 44-year-old then produced a sensational spell of five birdies in his final six holes to sign for a four-over 76 and end the week at one under par.

“This is unlike any other sport in which you’re so alone out there and you have to figure it out and you have to fight and no one is going to call in a sub and you just have to figure it out, and I did coming in,” said Woods.

“That’s part of our sport. That’s what makes this game so unique and so difficult mentally. We’ve all been there, unfortunately.”

Much of the pre-tournament hype surrounded the big-hitting DeChambeau, but the US Open champion struggled to find form this week with rounds of 70, 74, 69 and 73.

The American did eagle the 13th on Sunday and made two birdies, but his round also included three bogeys and a double as he finished the tournament at two under par.

American Andy Ogletree, 22, claimed the low amateur prize.

Sources from: BBC Sports

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