The Masters: Dustin Johnson wins long-awaited second major

Dustin Johnson Masters Champion

FINAL LEADERBOARD -20 D. Johnson; -15 Smith, Im; -12 Thomas; -11 McIlroy, Frittelli; -10 Pan, Koepka, Rahm; -9 Simpson, Conners, Reed. OTHERS -2 DeChambeau; -1 Woods; +1 Spieth; +3 Watson.

It's a tradition unlike any other.

When Dustin Johnson hits his stride, victory inevitably follows - and so it proved at this week's COVID-delayed Masters Tournament.

The 36-year-old recovered from a slow start in his final round to win the 84th edition of the tournament at Augusta National by five shots from Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im.

It is the second major victory of Johnson's career, following the US Open in 2016.

The American becomes the first incumbent world No.1 to win the Masters since Tiger Woods in 2002. 

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In fact, the list of what Johnson achieved this week is long and distinguished. His 20-under total set a new record for the lowest Masters score of all time. The four bogeys he carded across the four rounds was also the lowest ever by a winner. 

On top of that, he tied the most greens hit in regulation over the last 35 years, clocked up the largest winning margin at Augusta since Tiger Woods in 1997, whilst his closing 68 was his 11th consecutive sub-par round at the Masters, breaking Tiger's record of ten that he set in round three.

It was, quite simply, a complete performance from the world's best player.

Afterwards, Johnson's usually stoic demeanour cracked under the weight of the emotion of his victory.

"It's a dream come true," he said, fighting back tears. "You know, as a kid I always dreamed about being a Masters champion. Obviously, it's just incredible.

"I've never had this much trouble gathering myself. On the golf course I'm pretty good at it. Out here I'm not."

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As is customary, Johnson received his prize in the Butler Cabin ceremony, where last year's champion Tiger Woods was on hand to help him into the green jacket.

"As a kid, dreaming about winning the Masters, having Tiger put the green jacket on you, it still seems like it's a dream," he said. "But I'm here, and what a great feeling it is. I couldn't be more excited."

Johnson began the final round with a four-shot lead over his nearest challengers Im, Smith and Mexico's Abraham Ancer. 

After picking up a shot at the third, the world No.1 had back-to-back bogeys at four and five and, with Smith making a move, found his lead reduced to one early in the round.

However, he regained his composure with a birdie at six, after which this advantage was never less than two shots. Three birdies in his final six holes put the seal on an emphatic and thoroughly deserved win.   

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"I played unbelievable golf all week. The conditions of the course definitely helped the scoring a little bit but I still played really well today."

"To have the scoring record, shooting 20-under this week, it's a great honour. I don't even know what to say anymore. I'm so excited that it's hard to even talk."

With his win, Johnson has consolidated his position at the top of the world rankings whilst his $2,070,000 winner's cheque has taken his official PGA Tour career earnings through the $70m mark.

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