AUGUSTA, United States (AFP) — Top-ranked Dustin Johnson shook off an early stumble to win the Masters in record-breaking fashion yesterday, capturing his second major title with the lowest total score in the tournament’s history. The 36-year-old American, who grew up only an hour’s drive north of Augusta National, became the first reigning world number one to grab the green jacket since Tiger Woods in 2002.
Johnson, whose other major victory came at the 2016 US Open, fired a closing four-under-par 68 to finish on a 72-hole Masters record 20-under-par for a five-stroke triumph over South Korean Im Sung-jae and Australian Cameron Smith.
Johnson smashed the old 72-hole Masters mark of 18-under 270 set by Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Third-ranked American Justin Thomas was fourth on 276, one stroke ahead of fifth-ranked Rory McIlroy and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli.
Johnson, who began with a four-shot edge, had never converted a 54-hole major lead into a title, stumbling at the 2010, 2015 and 2018 US Opens and in August’s PGA Championship, where he settled for a runner-up spot.
That hex ended yesterday, but not without some early drama as Johnson, runner-up in three of the past six majors including the 2019 Masters, saw his lead trimmed to one.
After curling in a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-4 third, Johnson made back-to-back bogeys at the fifth and par-3 sixth, ending a run of 33 bogey-free holes.
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