'Gorgeous' shot on 18 helps Johnson repeat
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Dustin Johnson stood on the 18th tee as powerful waves crashed along the sea wall along the left side of the famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Then he turned to face what he considers the toughest drive on the golf course.
"It's such a gorgeous hole," Johnson said. "If you miss it a little left, it's not so pretty."
What followed was a tee shot as majestic as the scenery around him.
Johnson's drive was long and pure, setting up a simple birdie from the greenside bunker yesterday. It gave him a one-shot victory over David Duval and J.B. Holmes, making him the first player in 20 years to win back-to-back in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Johnson closed with a 2-over 74, the highest final round by a Pebble Beach champion since Johnny Miller (74) in 1994. Johnson, 25, is the first player since Tiger Woods to go straight from college and win in each of his first three years on the PGA Tour.
Johnson hit a 3-iron into the front right bunker, the best place to miss, and blasted out to 3 feet. He lightly pumped his fist when he made the putt, a mixture of celebration and relief from a long day in which four players had a share of the lead at some point.
"All you can ask for is a chance to win on the last hole," Johnson said.
Paul Goydos didn't get that opportunity. Leading by a shot with five holes to play, he hit a chip that ran off the other side of the treacherous 14th green, another chip that came back down the slope toward his feet and three-putted for a quadruple-bogey 9.
He wound up with a 78 and tied for fifth.
Duval put together his best four rounds in years, closing with a 3-under 69 that he didn't think would be enough until Johnson went over the green and made a pair of bogeys on the back nine.
Johnson's power, and the shot he struck on the 18th, made all the difference.
Duval doesn't have the length to get home in two at Pebble's closing hole, so he played smartly to the right. His wedge came up just enough short to catch the slope and roll 30 feet away.
"I feel like I did most of the things I wanted to do today," Duval said.
Holmes has the length, but he didn't have the direction on the 18th. He hit into the right rough and had to lay up, then missed a birdie putt just outside 12 feet.
"Had my chances," Holmes said after a 71.
ACE Group Classic: Fred Couples shot an 8-under 64 to win his first Champions Tour event by one stroke over Tommy Armour III at Naples, Fla. Couples finished at 17-under 199 to hold off Armour, who matched the tour record for lowest score in relation to par with an 11-under 61.
Avantha Masters: Australia's Andrew Dodt shot a 4-under 69 to beat England's Richard Finch (66) by one stroke for his first European tour title at Gurgaon, India. Dodt finished at 14-under 274.