Johnson wins second Saudi International title in 3 years

Dustin Johnson wins Saudi International. Pic: Getty Images/ ET

KAEC, Jeddah, March 8: Dustin Johnson earned his second Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers title in three years after holding off the chasing pack to secure a two-stroke victory at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.

Johnson finished at fifteen under par for a total of 265, two shots clear of Olympic Gold medallist Justin Rose and World No.15 Tony Finau in tied second.

The World Number One started the day with a two-stroke advantage and he was pushed all the way by playing partner Victor Perez and compatriot Tony Finau, who briefly pulled level with Johnson on the back nine.

Earlier in the week Shubhankar Sharma missed the cut by one shot.

The reigning Masters Champion closed out victory by responding to his only dropped shot of the day at the 16th with a birdie at the 17th to finish with a closing two under par round of 68 for a winning 15 under total.

Finau marked his debut in Saudi Arabia with a tie for second place on 13 under par with England’s Justin Rose, whose joint runner-up result is his best European Tour finish since he won the 2018 Turkish Airlines Open. A shot further back in a tie for fourth place on 12 under par was Scotland’s Calum Hill, who secured his best European Tour result to date, and France’s Perez, whose challenge was effectively ended by a double bogey five on the 16th as he signed for a 69.

The triumph is Johnson’s first victory since winning his first Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament in November and continues his excellent record in Saudi Arabia after winning the maiden edition of the event in 2019 before finishing second to Graeme McDowell in 2020.

“It was a really good week. I felt like I played really solid every day. Gave myself a lot of chances. Didn’t putt quite as well as I’d like to, but obviously well enough to get a victory today.

“But conditions were tough, especially a couple of the days, but I felt like I struck it very well. I drove it really good. So I gave myself a ton of chances. But yeah, just obviously I’m very pleased with the win and very excited but I’m going to have to go home and work on the putting a bit I think.

“It’s tough to win on the European Tour, PGA TOUR, no matter what ranking you are. But yeah, obviously winning as Number One is definitely good, and obviously it gives me a little bit more of a lead. It gives me a lot of confidence going in for the rest of the year. Obviously we’re at the beginning of the year, so pleased with how I’m playing and looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Johnson who became the first two-time winner of the Saudi International dropped only three shots dropped all week and had 18 birdies. He won in 2019 and 2021 and was finished runner up in 2020

He added, “I don’t get to play around the world as much as I’d like to, but yeah, it’s definitely nice to get a win [not on the PGA TOUR]. After Augusta, to get my first win again, obviously the game’s still in really good form and I’m really excited about the rest of the year.”

Read also:

Sharma misses cut by one, World No. 1 Johnson rises to 3-shot lead in Saudi

Sharma hangs by slender thread at Saudi International

Sharma shoots 69 in opening round at Saudi International

Sharma ready to tee off at Saudi International

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