Mexico City, Mexico
Playing his first event as World No. 1, Dustin Johnson began the final round one shot back of 54-hole leader Justin Thomas and fashioned a 3-under-par 31-37=68 to win the inaugural World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship with a 72-hole total of 14-under 270, one stroke better than runner-up Tommy Fleetwood and two clear of Ross Fisher and Jon Rahm, who shared third.
The 32-year-old claims his 14th PGA TOUR title in 207 career events (seventh come from behind), and second this season in six starts, joining a 5-shot win in his last start at the Genesis Open, where he was the 54-hole leader.
It's his ninth overall top-10 finish in 28 WGC events and fourth title, having also claimed the 2016 Bridgestone Invitational, 2015 Cadillac Championship -- the precursor of this event -- and the 2014 HSBC Champions.
With the four WGC trophies, the South Carolinian is now second all-time to Tiger Woods, who owns a ridiculous 18 of them.
After opening in 70-66-66, he began in solo 2nd, and played out of the final threesome with Thomas, who shot 72, and 36-hole leader Rory McIlroy (71).
The Coastal Carolina product went out in 4-under, birdieing Nos. 2 (from 15’1”), 6, 8 (29'1") and 9, surging to a 4-shot lead. After back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13, he briefly relinquished the lead to a hard-charging Rahm, but played his final five holes blemish free, ending his scoring with an up-and-down birdie-4 at 15.
Johnson landed six (of 14) fairways and 12 greens in regulation – gaining 2.382 strokes tee-to-green – and totaled 27 putts en route to 0.750 SG: Putting and 1.667 putts per GIR. For the week, he carded one eagle and 22 birdies against eight bogeys and one double, and was No. 1 in Par-5 Scoring and Proximity to Hole (see full stats below).
Of Johnson’s 14 wins, this is the second time he’s went back-to-back in consecutive starts (last year U.S. Open, WGC-BI), which was the exact same scenario, one week off in between.
Of his seven come-from-behind wins, the last four have either been in a WGC or major event.
Johnson’s 14 wins:
2017 WGC-Mexico: came from 1 back w/ 3-under 68; won by 1
2017 Genesis: 54-hole leader by 5; won by 5
2016 BMW: 54-hole leader by 3; won by 3
2016 WGC-BI: came from 3 back w/ 4-under 66; won by 1
2016 U.S. Open: came from 4 back w/ 1-under 69; won by 3
2015 WGC-Cadillac: came from 5 back w/ 3-under 69; won by 1
2013-14: WGC-HSBC: 54-leader by 3; won by 3
2013 Hyundai TOC (reduced to 54 holes): won by 4; R4 cancelled
2012 FedEx St. Jude: came from 1 back w/ 4-under 66; won by 1
2011 The Barclays (reduced to 54 holes): won by 2; R4 cancelled
2010 BMW Championship: came from 1 back w/ 2-under 69; won by 1
2010 AT&T Pebble Beach: 54-hole co-leader; won by 1 w/ 2-over 74
2009 AT&T Pebble Beach (reduced to 54 holes): won by 4; R4 cancelled
2008 Turning Stone Resort: came from 2 back w/ 3-under 69; won by 1
This was the 18th playing of the second WGC event of the year, first as the WGC-Mexico and first at the 7,330-yard par-71 (35-36) Club de Golf Chapultepec.
The cumulative scoring average:
R1: 71.645; R2: 70.842; R3: 70.579; R4: 71.132
Johnson posted rounds of 70-66-66-68 for 14.197 SG: Total.
Johnson’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 76 players):
Eagles: 1 (T5)
Birdies: 22 (T3)
Bogeys: 8 (T7)
Doubles: 1 (T29)
Par-3 Scoring: 3.06 (T23)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.89 (T7)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.17 (1st); birdied 10 of the 12 par 5s
Driving Distance (all drives): 303.0 yards (17th)
Driving Accuracy: 33/56 (T49) at 58.93 percent
Greens in Regulation: 52/72 (T5) at 72.22 percent
Proximity to hole: 28’11” (1st)
Putts per GIR: 1.673 (T5)
Total Putts: 111 (T11)
Putts by Round: 30-27-27-27
Scrambling: 14/20 (14th) at 70.00 percent
SG: Off-the-Tee: 1.128 (27th)
SG: Approach-the-Green: 8.730 (1st)
SG: Around-the-Green: 2.734 (8th)
SG: Tee-to-Green: 12.593 (1st)
SG: Putting: 1.605 (21st)
Johnson deposits 550 FedExCup (FEC) points for the victory and nudges three places to No. 3 in the standings, 384 points behind new-leader Thomas, who finished T5.
Top 10 in FEC standings (points):
1. Justin Thomas (1,737); UP one
2. Hideki Matsuyama (1,736); DOWN one
3. Dustin Johnson (1,353); UP three
4. Jordan Spieth (1,010); DOWN one
5. Pat Perez (951); DOWN one
6. Jon Rahm (941); UP two
7. Brendan Steele (901); DOWN two
8. Gary Woodland (811); DOWN one
9. Rickie Fowler (773); UP one
10. Mackenzie Hughes (744); DOWN one
With a Strength of Field rating of 778, Johnson collects 76.00 world-ranking points, increasing his margin in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to 2.3638 Average Points over Jason Day. His last three starts read: 1st-1st-3rd.
Top 10 in OWGR (this week’s finishes):
1. Dustin Johnson (Won)
2. Jason Day (WD prior)
3. Rory McIlroy (T7)
4. Hideki Matsuyama (T25)
5. Jordan Spieth (T12); UP one
6. Henrik Stenson (WD during R1); DOWN one
7. Justin Thomas (T5); UP one, career high
8. Adam Scott (T45); DOWN one
9. Rickie Fowler (T16)
10. Sergio Garcia (T12)
24 of the Top 25 in OWGR were in the field; six finished in the top 10:
No. 1 Dustin Johnson (Won); No. 3 Rory McIlroy (T7); No. 8 Justin Thomas (T5); No. 17 Tyrrell Hatton (10th); No. 23 Phil Mickelson (T7); No. 24 Brandt Snedeker (T7)
49 of the Top 50 in OWGR were in the field; eight finished in the top 10:
No. 35 Thomas Pieters (T5)
No. 38 Jon Rahm (T3)
No. 11 Alex Noren (T55)
No. 12 Patrick Reed (T61)
No. 13 Justin Rose (T38)
No. 14 Danny Willett (69th)
No. 15 Bubba Watson (T38)
Tommy Fleetwood: The Race to Dubai leader and World No. 55 twirled a 5-under-par 34-32=66 to conclude on 13-under 271, up five spots to solo 2nd, and leaps 20 places to a career-high 35th in OWGR.
After kicking off in 69-70-66, the 26-year-old began in a three-way T7 on 8-under, four in arrears to 54-hole leader Thomas. Playing out of the third-to-last threesome, he striped 10 (of 14) fairways and landed 12 greens in regulation, posting 1.667 putts per GIR and 1.921 SG: Putting.
The Englishman squared a lone bogey-5 at eight, but erased it with birdies at Nos. 1, 6, 11, 12 and 15, walking off with a 38-footer for birdie-3 at 18. For the week, he totaled one eagle and 17 birdies versus six bogeys.
Fleetwood is a 2-time winner on the European Tour in 166 career events, most recently at the 2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, where incidentally, he beat Johnson by one.
This was his second appearance after T71 (of 74) in 2015 (Trump National Doral) and his sixth overall WGC with a previous-best T5 at the 2015 Match Play, which doubled as his previous best on the PGA TOUR in a now 13 career starts.
Yahoo! Low Rounds:
R1: Ross Fisher; Jimmy Walker; Jon Rahm; Phil Mickelson; Lee Westwood; Ryan Moore (67)
R2: Andy Sullivan; Rory McIlroy (65)
R3: Jordan Spieth (63); course record
R4: Ross Fisher; Brandt Snedeker (65)
R1: Pat Perez (68); Sergio Garcia (68); Rickie Fowler (69)
R3: Jordan Spieth (63)
R4: Francesco Molinari (66)
Career records as leader/co-leaders (by round):
R1: Ross Fisher drops to 0-for-2; Jimmy Walker (1-for-4); Jon Rahm (0-for-2); Phil Mickelson (9-for-27); Lee Westwood (1-for-4); Ryan Moore (2-for-7)
R2: Rory McIlroy drops to 4-for-8
R3: Justin Thomas drops to 3-for-5
Did You Know?
Johnson, a 13/2 pre-tourney outright, is the first odds-favorite to win in 34 events. The last was Spieth at the 2016 DEAN & DELUCA as a 6/1 outright.
First-timers and/or Rookies:
Tournament debut at WGC-Mexico: 14
Top-10 finishes: 3
Jon Rahm: The first-round co-leader and World No. 38 was top tourney and WGC debutant after a 3-under-par 34-34=68 and a four-day tally of 12-under 272, up two places into a two-way T3.
After opening in 67-70-67, the 22-year-old began in two-way T5 on 9-under, three shy of 54-hole leader Thomas. That's the same final-round deficit he faced at the Farmers, erasing it with 7-under 65 to win by three, highlighted by an inward 30.
The Spaniard conjured just five (of 14) fairways and hit 12 greens in regulation, posting 1.833 putts per GIR, dampened by a pair of 3-putts. He went out in 1-under, outpacing bogey-5 at five with birdies at holes 1 and 6, saving par from 13'8" at the ninth.
The ASU alum eagled the par-5 11th (from 14'3") and then circled back-to-backs at 14 and 15, the former from the fringe 33'8" away, taking a 1-shot lead with three to play.
He chased that with back-to-back 3-putt bogeys at 16 and 17, from 69'3" and 59'11", respectively, ending his chances. Rahm posts his second straight top 10 of the season and third overall in eight starts, all three doubling as top 5s, and jumps 13 spots to a career-high 25th in OWGR.
Thomas Pieters: The World No. 35 handed in a 3-under-par 32-36=68 after the final round to finish up his tourney debut on 11-under 273, up two places to T5, his second top-5 finish on TOUR in his last three starts (career-TOUR-best T2, Genesis on sponsor invite), and was the ONLY player to put all four rounds in the 60s (68-69-68-68).
The Belgian collects 110 non-member FEC points and is now eligible for Special Temporary Membership (STM) with 416 total points. If he accepts STM, he can get unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
This was the 25-year-old’s fourth appearance in a WGC with a previous best of T14 at the HSBC Champions back in October. He’s a 3-time winner on the European Tour, most recently at the 2016 Made In Denmark.
Tyrrell Hatton: Arriving off a career-TOUR-best T4 at last week’s Honda (on a sponsor invite), the World No. 17 submitted a 1-under-par 35-35=70 after the final round to wrap his tourney debut on 9-under 275, down three spots to solo 10th.
This was the 25-year-old's third overall WGC event and first top 10, brushing aside T23 at the HSBC Champions back in October. It was his 13th career PGA TOUR event (12 pro) and fourth top 10.
The Englishman is a 1-time winner on the European Tour in 92 career starts, winning the 2016 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship back in October (as 54-hole leader). Overall, this his 10th consecutive top-25 finish worldwide.
TOUR Rookies: 1
Top-10 finishes: 0
Mackenzie Hughes: The 26-year-old was the ONLY rookie (of 25) in the elite field and was making his tourney and WGC debut. He finished a respectable T32 on 1-under 283 (70-70-73-70). By default, it’s the Canadian’s fourth time this season (in 13 starts) where he’s claimed top-rookie honors.
Other Notable Finishes:
Ross Fisher: The first-round co-leader and World No. 72 birdied his final three holes en route to a 6-under-par 33-32=65 and a four-day tally of 12-under 272, tying the low round of the day with Brandt Snedeker.
After opening in 67-68-72, the 36-year-old began on 6-under (T14), six adrift of 54-hole leader Thomas. Playing out of the fifth-to-last threesome, he striped 10 (of 14) fairways and hit 13 greens in regulation, gaining 2.788 strokes approaching-the-green and 2.500 strokes with the flat stick.
The Englishman, a 5-time winner on the European Tour, most recently at the 2014 Tshwane Open, squared three bogeys but camouflaged them with NINE birdies. For the week, he carded 23 birdies against 11 bogeys.
This was Fisher’s 63rd career start on the PGA TOUR, 17th WGC, and sixth overall top 10, matching a previous-best T3 at the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions. He collects 170 non-member FEC points and jumps 17 places to 55th in OWGR.
11 of 16 winners this season are in their 20s
3 are in their 30s
2 are in their 40s
Safeway: Brendan Steele (age: 33)
CIMB: Justin Thomas (age: 23)
WGC-HSBC: Hideki Matsuyama (age: 24)
Sanderson Farms: Cody Gribble (age: 26)
Shriners: Rod Pampling (age: 47)
OHL: Pat Perez (age: 40)
RSM: Mackenzie Hughes (age: 25)
SBS TOC: Justin Thomas (age: 23)
Sony: Justin Thomas (age: 23)
CareerBuilder: Hudson Swafford (age: 29)
Farmers: Jon Rahm (age: 22)
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama (age: 24)
AT&T: Jordan Spieth (age: 23)
Genesis: Dustin Johnson (age: 32)
Honda: Rickie Fowler (age: 28)
WGC-Mexico: Dustin Johnson (age: 32)
13 of the 16 winners have emerged out of the FINAL group on Sunday/Monday, including Johnson. The three outliers are:
Hideki Matsuyama: Penultimate threesome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 5-under 66; won WMPO in playoff.
Jon Rahm: Fifth-to-last threesome: erased 3-shot deficit w/ 7-under 65; won Farmers by 3.
Brendan Steele: Third-to-last threesome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 7-under 65; won Safeway by 1.
54-hole leaders/co-leaders are now 7-for-16 converting. Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), Justin Thomas x2 (SBS TOC and Sony); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pro-Am); Dustin Johnson (Genesis); Rickie Fowler (Honda) have been successful.
NOTE: Matsuyama also won the unofficial Hero World Challenge as 54-hole leader.
Patton Kizzire (Safeway); Anirban Lahiri (CIMB); Luke List, Chris Kirk (Sanderson Farms); Lucas Glover (Shriners); Gary Woodland (OHL); Adam Hadwin (CBC); Patrick Rodgers, Brandt Snedeker (FIO); Byeong Hun An (WMPO); and now Thomas have all failed to convert.
Consecutive top 10s on TOUR:
Dustin Johnson (1st-1st-3rd)
Rory McIlroy (T7-T4-P1)
Jon Rahm (T3-T5)
Tyrrell Hatton (10th-T4)
Wesley Bryan: (T4-T4)
The TOUR heads back to the Sunshine State and the Tampa Bay area for this week’s Valspar Championship at the 7,340-yard par-71 Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), where Charl Schwartzel is the defending champion.
The South African erased a 5-shot deficit with 4-under 67 to tie 54-hole leader Bill Haas on 7-under 277, and then eliminated him with par on the first hole of sudden death.
Stay tuned to this space for all the latest player news and analysis as the TOUR plays its 17th tournament of the season (of 47).