By Thomas Dodd
- Dustin Johnson shoots final round 66 to win by a stroke
- Win is second in a row for DJ after first major at US Open two weeks ago
- World number one Jason Day throws tournament away, dropping three shots in final three holes
AKRON, OHIO USA – American Dustin Johnson claimed his second title in as many starts after coming from three shots back to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
In a dramatic finale to the event at Firestone Country Club, US Open champion Johnson fired three birdies in his last six holes to overhaul world number one Jason Day, whose double-bogey on the par-five 16th saw him fall away after leading for the majority of the final round.
Johnson dropped a shot at the last for a second straight round of four-under 66 to finish at six-under, three better than Day – who also bogeyed the 18th – and one clear of compatriot Scott Piercy, whose birdie at the closing hole was only good enough for a solo second place finish.
Day’s collapse on the 661-yard hole cost him a fourth victory of the 2016 season and a second consecutive WGC event to back up the Dell Match Play he won in March. A wayward drive left last year’s PGA Champion way off the fairway playing his third and despite receiving a favourable drop the man at the top of rankings proceeded to run his approach shot into the lake guarding the green.
Failure to get up and down from 80 yards saw two shots go and with it any chance he had of catching Johnson, who had posted the six-under total two holes ahead.
A chip-in eagle three on the par-five second looked for most of the round to be enough for Day, who consistently kept his rivals at bay with crucial par saves, most notably from off the green at the par four 14th.
Johnson’s day was far more plain sailing and after turning in 33, the long-hitter set about attacking the Akron club’s narrow fairways and tight Sunday pins.
A wild drive at the last ultimately proved irrelevant as the 32-year-old moved closer to Day at the top of golfing world with his second consecutive victory on Tour.
Day’s demise dropped him into a tie for third with among others Jordan Spieth– the 22-year-old’s best ever WGC finish- and American Matt Kuchar, whose 66 was only beaten by Open Champion Zach Johnson’s 65 for round of the day.
It was a week to forget for the Brits in Ohio, however, with Paul Casey‘s tie for 16th the best of four quiet performances from men who had promised so much going into the event.
Justin Rose, still searching for a breakthrough week in 2016, can look back on a second round 76 as the killer blow which saw him ultimately finish tied 46th.
That was only four places and one shot worse off than Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, whose debut on the PGA Tour outside of the Majors ended with an encouraging 1-under par 69 and Russell Knox’s 72, his best round of the week, was only good enough for 54th place.
This year’s Bridgestone, a flagship event for the Tour, had been moved from its regular spot before the PGA Championship to accommodate the Olympics and as a result saw many big name players unwilling to travel stateside so close to the Open at Royal Troon.
Rory McIlroy may well have felt justified in his decision. A final round of even par 71 saw him finish 3rd at the French Open on the European Tour, an event won by Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee by four strokes.
And there was great news for England’s Callum Shinkwin at Golf Nationle, the site of 2018 Ryder Cup, as a top-10 finish saw the 23-year-old secure one of the final spots in the field for the Open in two weeks time.
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