Dustin Johnson poses with the trophy after winning the Saudi International golf tournament on Sunday.
Gulf Today Report
World Number One Dustin Johnson held off a host of final day challengers to claim the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers title.
The Masters champion held his nerve in the testing winds of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to shoot a final round of 68 and finish on 15 under par – two shots clear of Tony Finau and Justin Rose.
It marks a remarkable run in Saudi Arabia for the best player on the planet – after he claimed victory in the inaugural event in 2019 and a runners-up spot last year in the Kingdom. The American now has twelve consecutive rounds in the 60s in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) with 18 birdies during the week.
“I'm very pleased and proud of winning when I wasn't completely firing on all cylinders,” said the champion.
“There was a lot of really good players right around the lead and it was really windy and hard to get it close to the hole. I knew I was playing well and really swung it well all week and was very consistent with the way I was striking it.
“I like this golf course. I like the tournament. I think Golf Saudi do a great job hosting us and putting on a great event and obviously the field they have this year was really good, so it's a big win,” he added.
Johnson started the day with a two-shot lead over France's Victor Perez, but had his advantage halved by the time they had reached the turn.
The World Number One missed birdie opportunities from inside six feet at the 10th and 12th, allowing Finau to briefly move into a share of the lead by following a front-nine 33 with three consecutive birdies from the 11th. Tony Finau held a share of the lead until two late bogeys derailed the American for winning on his debut in Saudi Arabia.
“I've enjoyed my time here but it’s little bittersweet at the moment,” said Finau. I knew I could put some pressure on DJ with going into 16 and made a couple bogeys unfortunately on 16 and 17. But I've enjoyed my week, the golf course is good and I enjoy playing on The European Tour.” Justin Rose carded a bogey-free 65 while Victor Perez finished tied-fourth on 12 under alongside Scotland's Calum Hill.
“That was the best golf I played in quite some time,” said Rose.
“Momentum hasn't quite been on my side yet. So to play a bogey-free 65 on a Sunday is something to take and fuel the upcoming run.”
Low round of the day fell to Rasmus Hojgaard, whose 62 lifted him into a share of sixth alongside Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Ryan Fox, with big hitting Thomas Pieters sneaking a top 10 to finish on 10 under. Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia finished six shots back after rounds of 67 and 70 respectively, with US Open star Bryson DeChambeau posting a one-under 69.
Starting the final day one shot behind overnight leader Sanna Nuutinen, the 27-year-old dealt with the pressure of trying to chase her first Ladies European Tour, putting in strong performances with both her irons and putter.
The programme seeks to implement golf coaching strategies across the Tadrees schools network and enrich the lives of Saudi youths.
The event is the first professional ladies’ golf tournament in the history of the Kingdom – and is the first international sporting event to return to Saudi Arabia following the COVID-19 pandemic
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