AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Nothing ever comes easily for Dustin Johnson in the majors, except for when he slipped his arms through that Masters green jacket Sunday.
Johnson overcame a jittery start that conjured memories of past majors he failed to finish off. He turned that into a command performance, making sure this one-of-a-kind Masters with no fans also had no drama.
Not even close.
Johnson tapped in for par on the 18th for a 4-under 68 to finish at 20-under 268, breaking by two shots the record set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
His five-shot victory was the largest at the Masters since Woods won by 12 in 1997. All that was missing were the roars from a crowd for any of his pivotal putts early and his birdie putts on the back nine that put it away.
The Masters, postponed from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was forced to do without patrons for the first time. Johnson still received a warm reception coming up the 18th from club members and their wives, his partner, Paulina Gretzky, and a few champions.
Johnson’s four-shot lead was reduced to one after five holes, and then he quickly restored control. Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im each shot 69 and were the only ones who really had a chance.
No one had a better finish than defending champion Woods, but only after the five-time Masters champion posted the highest score of his career — three balls in Rae’s Creek for a 10 on the par-3 12th hole. He finished with five birdies over the last six holes to salvage a 76.
Johnson, the first No. 1 player in the world to win the Masters since Woods in 2002, was the main event. He won for the 25th time worldwide and his second major — he won the U.S. Open from four shots behind at Oakmont in 2016 — comes with some big perks. He can return for the rest of his life and will host the Masters Club dinner next April for champions.
Jinichiro Kozuma tapped in for eagle on the par-5 18th to win the Taiheiyo Masters for his first Japan Golf Tour title. Jinichiro set up the eagle with a 5-iron from 230 yards. He finished at 8 under, closing with a 2-under 68. Ryosuke Kinoshita was a stroke back after a 70. Jinichiro’s sister, Kotono, won a Japan LPGA event in 2018. … Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen won the Saudi Ladies International in a playoff for her second Ladies European Tour victory of the season. Pederson beat English major champion Georgia Hall with a birdie on the par-5 18th. Pederson also birdied the hole in regulation for an even-par 72 to match Hall (70) at 10 under. Pederson has a big lead in the Race to Costa del Sol standings with two events left. The Saudi Ladies Team International starts Tuesday. … Hye Jin Choi won the Korean LPGA’s season-ending SK Telecom ADT Caps Championship for her 10th tour title. She closed with a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Hae Ran Ryu (69). Choi finished at 12-under 204. … Ayaka Furue won the Japan LPGA’s Itoen Ladies, beating Miki Sakai with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff. Furue closed with a 2-under 70 to match Sakai (67) at 12-under 204. … Spain’s Pep Angles won the Andalucia Challenge de Cadiz for his first Challenge Tour victory, closing with a 3-under 69 for a 14-under 274 total. Countryman Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (71) and England’s Matthew Baldwin (68) were a stroke back.
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