Dustin Johnson on his way to winning the WGC Dell-Match Play title
The World No. 1 was for much of the match in a class of his own before holding off a late round fightback to win 1-up over Spain’s gritty Jon Rahm.
In the process, Johnson became the first player since the inaugural World Golf Championship in 1999 to win all four WGC titles – a feat that surpassed Tiger Woods.
Woods captured three of the WGC trophies 18 times but never the WGC – HSBC Champions, albeit competing in the event on just two occasions.
Johnson also becomes the first player on the PGA Tour since Rory McIlroy in 2015 to win three events in a row after moving to World No. 1 in capturing the Genesis Open and then claiming victory in the recent WGC – Mexico Championship.
Johnson had faced his sternest test earlier on Sunday and being forced to play all 18 holes for a first occasion in six matches before claiming also a 1-up victory of Japan’s Hideto Tanihara.
And while the 22-year old Rahn became the first Spaniard to fight his way through to the final, Johnson showed no favour winning four holes in succession to race to 4-up after only six holes before Rahn stopped the rot in halving the seventh.
However, Rahm again showed his growing frustration in losing the eighth with a bogey to be now 5-down ahead of winning birdies at the next two holes to be 3-down.
Jon Rahm was plucky in his defeat
Johnson still looked to be headed for a comfortable victory in getting back to 4-up with a winning birdie at 12 but Rahm had not read the script and proceeded to birdie 13, 15 and 16, and after each pared the par three 17th, heading down the last 1-down.
Both pared the last for Johnson to also claim his 15th PGA Tour win that now includes five WGC victories.
“I was tested a lot out there but then I didn’t give him any holes except for the 10th where I three-putted,” he said.
“But it was tough out there as the greens were really fast and the wind was affecting all the putts.
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“Jon played really well but, as I said, I really didn’t give him anything.
“But then it’s great to win three tournaments in a row and it shows I am playing pretty well.
“Today was a really tough day and this whole weekend was but I am proud of the way I stayed in there even though Jon made some birdies on the back nine but I am delighted with the way I played.”
Johnson earned a first prize cheque for $US 1.6m that has taken his earnings this season alone to the top of the PGA Tour money list with earnings in his seven 2016/17 season events of $US 5.78m.
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Johnson will contest this week's Shell Houston Open some three hour drive south of Austin before then heading to the April 6th starting Masters.
In the play-off for third American Bill Haas won 2 & 1 over Hideto Tanihara and with the 38-year old lighting-up their match with an ace at the par three 7th hole.
Tanihara hit an 8-iron that landed on the green and proceeded to run some 60-feet and disappear into the bottom of the cup.
It gave him a 1-up advantage and then 2-up when he birdied the ninth before Haas regrouped to win five holes in succession before closing out the match with a par at the 17th.
“Even though the match was to decide third place you still want to come out on top, so I was fortunate as I had a few good breaks over the back nine,” said Haas.
“Fortunately, his hole-in-one at seven only meant losing one hole so overall I was fortunate to win the match”.