(Reuters) – World number one Dustin Johnson eased to an eight-shot victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday.
Johnson entered the final round with a two-shot advantage and blew away the field with an eight-under-par 65 at the wide open Kapalua Plantation course on Maui.
The 33-year-old, who won four times last season, picked up four birdies on the first nine and added three more to go along with an eagle at the par-4 12th hole to shut the door on the competition. The eagle came during a mammoth drive on the 433-yard hole that saw the ball stop just inches from the cup.
Johnson said the key to his victory was a new driver he decided to put into play last week.
“I started hitting it real straight and controlled it,” Johnson said. “The driver is what won me the golf tournament this week. I don’t think I hit a bad drive all week.” Spain’s Jon Rahm shot a four-under-par 69 and finished second at 16-under. Brian Harman, who entered the day as the nearest challenger at two shots back, ended at 15-under.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Americans Rickie Fowler and Pat Perez were another shot back at 14-under.
But the field was left marveling at Johnson after his latest performance.
“What he did today was pretty impressive,” Rahm said. “None of us could really do much. That shows how good of a competitor he is.”
Harman was equally impressed.
“He’s very talented off the tee and he used that to his advantage today,” said the American.
Johnson’s win officially put his recent hiccup behind him after he surrendered a six-shot lead in the final round at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last October. “After what had happened in Shanghai, I didn’t want that to happen again,” Johnson said.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford/Amlan Chakraborty)