Dustin Johnson caps dominant run with a win at the Tour Championship
Dustin Johnson has accomplished much in his 13-year PGA Tour career. With 23 wins, six WGC victories and a U.S. Open title to his name, his career is among the best of the modern era. After his Tour Championship win at East Lake, he can add another line to his impressive resume — FedEx Cup champion.
Johnson sealed his claim as the top dog of the 2019-20 Tour season with another clinical performance at East Lake Golf Club, winning the finale with a score of 21-under. The win is his second of the Playoffs, and third on the year, to cement one of the best seasons of his career. For his efforts, Johnson takes home a bonus check of $15 million.
“I want to win. I wanted to be a FedEx Cup champion,” Johnson said. “It was something in my career that I would like to be, and obviously today I got [it]. I’m very proud of the way I played.”
The final leaderboard shows a three-shot margin, but the win did not come without its challenges — particularly during the final round. Johnson started the day with a five-shot lead, and after three birdies during his first six holes, it looked as though it might be a casual Sunday stroll around the famed Atlanta club. But golf is rarely so simple.
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Following the three-under start, Johnson quickly bogeyed the 7th and 8th holes — only his second and third dropped shots of the weekend — to narrow his lead to three. He then faced a testy seven-footer for par on the par-3 9th. It poured right in the heart. It was the last time the final result was ever in doubt as the 36-year-old played a one-under, bogey-free back nine to sign for a closing 68.
“I hit the fairways when I needed to coming down the stretch,” Johnson said. “Obviously the guys gave me a good fight today.”
A trio of challengers — Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele — tried their best to track down Johnson on the back nine, but none could put enough birdies on the card to place any serious pressure on the eventual winner.
Playing in the final group alongside Johnson, Schauffele faced a long-shot chance to hole a pitch shot for eagle and momentarily tie for the lead on the 18th, but the shot settled well short of the hole. Schauffele would ultimately par the last to finish T2 with Thomas. The runner-up finish is the second in a row for Schauffele in Atlanta, while Thomas has now finished in the top 10 at East Lake every year since 2016.
Even with his resume looking stronger and bank account much fatter, there won’t be much of a break for the newly minted FedEx Cup champion. The 2020-21 season begins Thursday at the Safeway Open and the U.S. Open looms just a week away.
“Got a few days off and then the U.S. Open,” Johnson said. “Not really much of a break, but I’m definitely pleased to be the FedEx Cup Champion.”