World No 1 Dustin Johnson registered a third win in eight worldwide starts with a two-stroke victory at the European Tour’s Saudi International; Justin Rose and Tony Finau share second ahead of Victor Perez and Calum Hill
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 07/02/21 1:11pm
Dustin Johnson has extended his advantage at the top of the world rankings after holding on for a two-stroke victory at the Saudi International.
The world No 1 posted a two-under 68 at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club to finish on 15 under and win the event for the second time in three years.
Johnson took a two-shot lead into the final day and never left top spot during a tense Sunday, despite struggling on the greens, to finish two ahead of Justin Rose and Tony Finau.
Rose carded a bogey-free 65 and Finau held a share of the lead until two late bogeys, while Victor Perez finished tied-fourth on 12 under alongside Scotland’s Calum Hill.
Johnson opened with three straight pars before making a tap-in birdie at the par-five fourth, after missing his 12-foot eagle try, as Perez picked up a shot from close range at the second and holed a 20-footer at the ninth to reach the turn within one of the lead.
The world No 1 missed birdie opportunities from inside six feet at the 10th and 12th, allowing Finau to briefly move into a share of the lead by following a front-nine 33 with three consecutive birdies from the 11th.
Johnson edged back ahead with a 10-foot birdie at the 13th and produced a delightful up and down to save par at the next, only for Perez to close the gap to one with a birdie at the 15th.
Perez’s hopes were ended by a double-bogey at the 16th, while Finau – playing in the group ahead – also slipped back after following a three-putt bogey on the same par-three by failing to get up and down from the sand at the next.
Johnson missed a six-footer to save par at the 16th but made amends with a tap-in birdie at the next to take a two-shot lead to the par-five last, where a two-putt par was enough to complete a first victory of 2021.
A round-of-the-day 62 lifted Rasmus Hojgaard into a share of sixth alongside Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Ryan Fox, while Thomas Pieters ended tied-10th on 10 under with George Coetzee.
Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia finished six shots back after rounds of 67 and 70 respectively, with Bryson DeChambau posting a one-under 69 to join Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer in tied-18th.
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