Top-ranked Dustin Johnson didn’t flinch with a big lead this time.
Johnson, who blew a six-stroke lead in the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in his previous start last October in Shanghai, shot 8-under-par 65 to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions by eight shots over fourth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain at Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui in Hawaii.
“I knew I was playing well and I’m comfortable on this golf course,” said Johnson, who won in 2013 at Kapalua, when the final round was wiped out by inclement weather. “I drove the ball so well all week and knew if I kept doing that, I would play well.
“I struggled in the final round in China and I didn’t want that to happen again, so I kept the pedal down. I’m in a good frame of mind and I want to keep it going. I want to keep on going in the right direction.”
DJ who now has won a tournament in each of his first 11 seasons on the PGA Tour, claimed his 17th victory on the circuit by posting a winning score of 24-under 268.
Rahm, who won on the PGA Tour and the European Tour last year, birdied three of the last five holes to card a 69, while Brian Harman closed with a 72 and was nine shots back in third.
Seventh-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta totaled a 70 and was another shot behind in a tie for fourth with Pat Perez of San Diego, who had a 69, and fifth-ranked Hideki Matsuyma of Japan, who carded a 66.
Marc Leishman of Australia posted a 67 to wind up 11 strokes down in a tie for seventh with Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, while second-ranked Jordan Spieth was one more behind in ninth after a 69, followed by Si Woo Kim, who was 13 back after another 69.
Defending champion and third-ranked Justin Thomas bounced back from two 75s with a 67 and tied for 22nd in the elite 34-player winners only field.
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