Dustin Johnson has risen from 23rd to 12th in the world following his victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii – an event reduced to 54 holes and extended to Tuesday after high winds halted play on the first three days.
Johnson, who had a three-shot overnight lead, fired a five-under 68 for a 16-under 203 total on another blustery day at the Kapalua Resort to finish four shots clear of defending champion Steve Stricker (69).
“Obviously it gives me a lot of confidence going into this year,” Johnson, the first player since Tiger Woods to win at least one tournament in six consecutive years straight out of college, told reporters.
“I’m very pleased to come out and get a win this week. I played very good golf the last two days.
“It’s tough when you have a three-shot lead to stay aggressive. I just hit a couple of bad drives that cost me a few shots, but, other than that, I played really good golf today.”
Stricker, who carded an error-free round, got to within a shot of his US Ryder Cup team-mate with five holes to play, but could not keep up the rally as Johnson went on to collect his seventh career win.
“I had some opportunities if I could have made some putts early in the round and a couple on the backside as well, but all in all it was a pretty good round,” said Stricker, who battled a shooting pain down his left side throughout the tournament and will take time off to have it treated. “He [Johnson] played well when he had to. I knew it was going to be tough today, but I gave him a bit of a run for a little while.”
American Brandt Snedeker, last season’s FedExCup champion, had a solid start to his 2013 campaign, also closing with a 69, to finish alone in third, six shots back from Johnson. Masters champion Bubba Watson (71) was a further shot back in a tie for fourth with fellow American Keegan Bradley (70).