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Johnson holds on for second Saudi success

Johnson holds on for second Saudi success

Dustin Johnson held off the challenge of Tony Finau and Victor Perez to claim his second Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers title.

  • Dustin Johnson won his ninth European Tour title in his 85th appearance. 
  • Johnson has become the first two-time winner of the Saudi International after also winning the inaugural edition in 2019
  • Ended the week on 15 under par, two shots clear of runners-up Justin Rose and Tony Finau
Dustin Johnson

The World Number One, who won the inaugural event here two years ago before finishing as runner-up to Graeme McDowell 12 months later, carded a closing 68 at Royal Greens Golf and Country club to finish on 15 under par.

That was two clear of Finau and Justin Rose as the American overcame a cold putter to capture his ninth European Tour title.

“Conditions when we started were really tough,” Johnson said.

“I knew I was hitting it well, I saw the leaderboard and I knew the guys were playing well.

“I kept giving myself chances - I didn't hole any of them but I hit good shots and I finally holed a really nice putt on 13 and from there on I played solid.”

Johnson's victory strengthens his position at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking and he added: “Couldn't hole any putts today. Just the reads, I'd see it going left to right it would go right to left; I'd see it going right to left it would go left to right. It was tough all day today.

“I don't get to play around the world as much as I'd like to and its definitely nice to get a win not on my tour.

“After Augusta to get my first win, the game's still in really good form and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Masters Tournament champion Johnson started the day with a two shot lead over France's Perez, but saw that advantage halved by the time they had reached the turn.

Johnson missed a six footer for eagle on the fourth and the subsequent tap-in proved to be his only gain on the front nine before he missed birdie chances from six feet at the tenth and 12th.

A hat-trick of birdies from the 11th saw Finau join his compatriot at the top of the leaderboard and at that stage the longest putt Johnson had made all day was from five feet.

However, he drained an 11 footer for birdie at the 13th to edge back in front.

Perez had been progressing patiently and a fine approach to six feet on the 15th saw him join Finau one adrift of the leader.

Finau three putted the 16th to drop two back, although Johnson and Perez in the group behind also found problems on the par three. The Frenchman hit his tee shot into a swale to the right of the green and, after pitching through the putting surface, ran up a double bogey to end his challenge.

Johnson failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker but, after Finau had bogeyed the 17th attempting to force the issue, Johnson produced a magnificent drive on the same hole to leave a simple up and down for birdie.

There was still some drama to be had on the last – Finau was a whisker away from holing out from the sand for eagle, while Johnson found a bunker off the tee and almost picked out another trap with his lay-up.

However, once his ball settled on the fairway he was able to conservatively pitch to the middle of the green and two putt for the win.

Rose made five birdies in a flawless closing 65, while Perez missed a birdie chance on the last to finish alongside Scotland's Calum Hill in fourth.

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