Dustin Johnson Earns Second Win of Season at WGC-Mexico Championship

Dustin Johnson clinched his second win of the season with a one-stroke victory over Tommy Fleetwood at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The win is Johnson’s fourth WGC title, which is second all-time behind Tiger.

After trailing 54-hole leader Justin Thomas by one entering Sunday, Johnson took control of the tournament with a blistering 31 on the front nine.

Johnson’s lead grew to four, but he had to hold on during the back nine as Jon Rahm and Fleetwoord made runs. Rahm was actually able to wrestle the lead away from Johnson following a birdie on the par-5 15th, but three-putted on 15 and 16 to curtail his chances.

Johnson’s ball-striking was on point all week and as soon as he found some rhythm with his putter Sunday, it was game over.

Thoughts:

– The altitude made for some incredibly long drives, but the course more than held up without being incredibly long.

– Although distance was an asset this week, players could not simply bomb it off the tee. Precision was much more valuable than pure distance. There were numerous instances where players drove the ball to close to the green and were unable to get close to the pin because they could not generate enough spin to control their distance.

– Tree trouble accompanied any wayward drive, but the shot tracker technology did a fantastic job of illustrating some of the absurd lines the players were taking off the tee.

– Johnson became the fifth player to win in his first start as the No. 1 player in the world.

– DJ has finished third, first, first in his last three events.

– This is a tournament the old Dustin Johnson would have lost. He grabbed control of the tournament on the front nine, but was leaking oil a bit on the back after back-to-back bogeys. In the past, Johnson would not have been mentally tough enough to pull out the win, instead he was able to steady the ship and hit the necessary winning shots down the stretch.

– This tweet below is a testament to just how good Johnson’s tee-to-green game was this week. He basically won without holing any putts of consequence until the final round. The poa annua greens are always tough to putt and are especially bumpy late in the afternoon, but if Johnson’s putting was just mediocre, he would have lapped the field.

– Rory looked primed to pull away with the tournament after he had a two shot advantage after 36 holes. However, this was the first tournament back since injuring his rib in January and the rust began to set in over the weekend.

– It looked like Jon Rahm was going to steal the tournament away from Johnson with a strong closing nine, but it seemed that the pressure of the moment got to the Spaniard. He had not three-putted all week, but did so on two consecutive holes when two pars would have earned him a playoff.

– The 54-hole leaderboard had golf fans drooling. Phil, DJ, Rory, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth were all in contention, but the star-studded shootout never manifested.

– It was a miracle that Phil was even in contention by the way he was driving the ball. He spent most of the week in the woods off the tee, but his short game and putting kept him on the leaderboard.

– Mickelson led the field in putting despite the bumpy poa annua. Below is exhibit A of the type of situations Phil found himself in because of wayward drives.

Bad Break of the Week:

Dustin Johnson having his ball get stuck in the tree only to see it fall out after he had already put a new ball in play. I’ve seen players have balls stuck in a tree, but I have never seen the ball fall out of the tree when a player had already dropped after the penalty stroke. DJ doesn’t have the best of luck when it comes to unusual rulings, but this did not effect the outcome.

Shot of the Week:

Justin Thomas’ hole-in-one Saturday was the best shot of the week.

…and he celebrated accordingly

However, the most important shot was Johnson’s approach shot on 18. Johnson had a one shot lead and a very awkward stance in the bunker. He was able to negotiate the tricky shot and get the ball pin high for an easy two-putt to seal the victory.

Otter Room Picks:

Not great, but the beauty of the WGC events is that your picks will never miss the cut. My dark horse pick Zach Johnson wrapped up the week at +5, T-58, while Hideki Matsuyama finished in the middle of the pack at -3, T-25.

Stay tuned to The Otter Room this week for a complete preview of the Valspar Championship.

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