US Masters: Dustin Johnson shatters scoring record to win green jacket

World number one held off Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith by five shots at Augusta

Dustin Johnson is awarded the Green Jacket by 2019 Masters champion Tiger Woods after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Dustin Johnson is awarded the Green Jacket by 2019 Masters champion Tiger Woods after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

 

No slip-ups, just as sure-footed a march to the title as the old course has ever produced. For, in a Masters unlike any other, with no azaleas and no crowd, apart from a handful of privileged members and family, Dustin Johnson strode the fairways of Augusta National as if it were his personal domain in what was ultimately a runaway, record-sized win in this 84th edition of the tournament.

As a child, growing up less than an hour’s drive away in South Carolina, a visit to the august venue first nurtured the dream of one day having a green jacket slipped onto his shoulders, and so it proved – with Tiger Woods performing the tailoring duty – as Johnson, the world number one, fired a closing round 68 for a total of 20-under-par 268, beating by two the 72-holes low score record previously held by Woods and Jordan Spieth.

Johnson was a colossus in putting together his win. Once he overcame a nervy start, rescuing a par after duffing a pitch into a bunker on the second, and then suffering back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth to allow Cameron Smith and Sung-jae Im to entertain hopes that Johnson could potentially suffer another final round collapse.

But the Johnson of 2020 is far removed from the one who suffered a meltdown in the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach (starting with a three-shot lead only to shoot a closing 82), or the one who grounded his club in the PGA at Whistling Straits to miss out on a playoff. The modern version of DJ is one who spins his own tunes and the world number one confirmed that status with a display of shotmaking and, especially, a demonstration of wedge play that saw him stand out from the crowd finishing five strokes clear of Smith and Im when he tapped in his final putt.

Dustin Johnson tees off on the 18th. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP Photo
Dustin Johnson tees off on the 18th. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP Photo

This was Johnson’s solo show, although Rory McIlroy - who went out in 33 to get to 11-under and within four strokes at that juncture - admitted to briefly entertaining hopes of a charge. “I thought, maybe there’s a chance . . . . it was probably wishful thinking on my part,” said the Northern Irishman, who finished with a closing round 69 for 277, in a share of fifth alongside South African Dylan Fritelli.

On a day when the famous roars were absent, Johnson created his own noise in golf’s finest theatre: after those early hiccups, the champion didn’t drop another shot and, instead, produced birdies at the sixth, eighth and then a hat-trick from the 13th to the 15th to relentlessly move to the title, his second career Major to go with his 2016 US Open success.

Perhaps the greatest example of Johnson’s maturity was demonstrated with his play of the Par 5 13th where, after finding the fairway, he and his caddie - brother Austin - noticed the ball had taken on board some mud. Rather than risk going for the green, which was in range in two, Johnson opted to lay-up. Then, showcasing his wedge play, he hit the approach to eight feet and rolled in a birdie putt that was to be the catalyst for three-in-a-row. On the 14th, he hit a sand wedge approach to six feet and, on the Par 5 15th, again opted to lay-up and hit his approach to six feet.

Johnson’s form since the PGA Tour’s resumption has been nothing short of spectacular and his results either side of a two-weeks enforced isolation period after contracting Covid-19 have been that of a dominant world number one: 2nd-1st-2nd-1st-6th-2nd-1st, with this Masters win only showcasing that brilliance.

“As a kid, dreaming about winning the Masters, having Tiger put the green jacket on you, it still feels like it’s a dream,” said an emotional Johnson of realising his ambition. “Obviously, I played unbelievable golf all week. The conditions of the course definitely helped the scoring, but I still played really well . . . to have the scoring record, shooting 20-under, it’s a great honour.”

Rory McIlroy pitches from the side of the 10th green. Photo: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
Rory McIlroy pitches from the side of the 10th green. Photo: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

McIlroy, who won’t play again this season, was effectively undone from the get-go in his efforts to win the Masters and complete the career grand slam after an opening round 75, but he responded brilliantly with rounds of 66-67-69 in turn to move up to a share of fifth, albeit all of nine strokes adrift of Johnson who left a gold standard stamp on his victory.

“Dustin’s been knocking on the door so long and, since coming out of the lockdown in June, he has been by far the best player in the world. He’s won a few times (three), had a chance (in the US PGA) at Harding Park and I think this validates what he did at Oakmont (in the 2016 US Open). He’s had so many chances and he hasn’t quite been able to close the deal but his resume speaks for itself, how many times he’s won the PGA Tour (24), how consistent he’s been,” acknowledged McIlroy.

Shane Lowry closed with a 73 for 284, finishing in tied-25th. While McIlroy plans on putting the clubs away, Lowry will finish his PGA Tour season at this week’s RSM Classic at Sea Island.

Collated fourth round scores & totals in The Masters, Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia, USA (USA unless stated, par 72):

268 Dustin Johnson 65 70 65 68

273 Cameron Smith (Aus) 67 68 69 69, Sungjae Im (Kor) 66 70 68 69

276 Justin Thomas 66 69 71 70

277 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 75 66 67 69, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 65 73 67 72

278 Brooks Koepka 70 69 69 70, Jon Rahm (Spa) 69 66 72 71, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 70 66 74 68

279 Patrick Reed 68 68 71 72, Corey Conners (Can) 74 65 71 69, Webb Simpson 67 73 71 68

280 Kevin Na 73 68 69 70, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 68 67 69 76, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 68 72 72, Marc Leishman (Aus) 70 72 70 68

281 Xander Schauffele 67 73 71 70, Patrick Cantlay 70 66 73 72

282 Scottie Scheffler 71 68 72 71, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71 66 71 74, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 70 68 69 75, Cameron Champ 68 74 68 72

283 Justin Rose (Eng) 67 70 76 70, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68 70 75 70

284 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 73 71 69 71, Shane Lowry (Irl) 74 69 68 73, Ian Poulter (Eng) 72 71 71 70, Danny Willett (Eng) 71 66 74 73

285 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 68 73 73 71, Sung Kang (Kor) 75 69 71 70, Rickie Fowler 70 70 75 70, Nick Taylor (Can) 72 72 69 72, Chez Reavie 71 72 72 70

286 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 72 71 73, Bryson DeChambeau 70 74 69 73, (a) Andy Ogletree 73 70 71 72, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 70 71 73 72

287 Tony Finau 69 75 71 72, Tiger Woods 68 71 72 76, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 69 73 74 71, Paul Casey (Eng) 65 74 71 77

Billy Horschel 70 70 72 75, Lee Westwood (Eng) 68 74 71 74, 288 Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 72 70 72 74, Collin Morikawa 70 74 70 74

289 Matt Wallace (Eng) 69 73 70 77, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 71 76 72, Jordan Spieth 74 70 73 72, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 74 70 73 72, Charles Howell III 71 70 74 74

290 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 69 71 75 75, Zach Johnson 73 71 73 73, Mike Weir (Can) 71 72 71 76, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 73 71 74 72

291 Phil Mickelson 69 70 79 73, (a) John Augenstein 69 72 75 75

292 Bubba Watson 74 69 71 78

294 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 72 78 73

295 Brandt Snedeker 71 71 79 74

296 Jimmy Walker 71 73 76 76

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