DJ hangs on, beats Rahm in WGC-Match Play final

Dustin Johnson confirmed that he is the best golfer in the world, if there was any doubt, but rookie Jon Rahm of Spain is coming–and fast.

Top-seeded Johnson built a 5-up lead through eight holes but was taken to the last hole by the 22-year-old Rahm, seeded No. 21, before escaping with a 1-up victory in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.

“I feel like I didn’t really give him any holes except for 10, but he made some birdies on the back nine,” said World No. 1 Johnson, who has won his last three tournaments on the PGA Tour. “It was tough out there. The greens got really fast. The wind was affecting all the putts. Jon played really well, I just didn’t really give him anything.

“I’m proud of the way I played, the way I stayed in there. … It was a long day and a long weekend. I just couldn’t get any putts to drop, but I’m proud of the way I played. I thought I played well all week.”

No. 42 Bill Haas captured the consolation match by rallying from 2 down after nine holes to defeat No. 54 Hideto Tanihara, the surprise of the tournament, 2 up.

In the morning semifinals, Johnson defeated Tanihara, 1 up, and Rahm downed Haas, 3 and 2.

Rahm, who will climb into the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking this week, didn’t win a hole until in the final until sinking a six-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole, but he won the 10th, 13th, 15th and 16th with birdies, the last from 32 feet.

The only hole DJ won on the back nine was No. 12 with a three-foot birdie putt, but that was enough to allow him to hold on when both players made par on the 18th hole, with DJ getting up-and-down from off the front edge of the green by sinking the winner from three feet.

Johnson, who captured the WGC-Mexico Championship in his last start, claimed his fifth title in the World Golf Championships, second to Tiger Woods’ total of 18. However, by winning Sunday, Johnson became the first player to win all four WGC events.

Woods has never won the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, which Johnson captured in 2013.

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