Dustin Johnson became the fifth player in history to win his first tournament appearance as World No.1 following his victory at the WGC Mexico.
He joins Ian Woosnam, David Duval, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott to that accolade, in addition to securing his fourth World Golf Championship title.
The 32-year-old overcame difficulty with the putter throughout the tournament to finish one shot ahead of Tommy Fleetwood with a final-round of 68.
DJ’s final round consisted of a much better putting performance, holing from 29-feet for birdie on 8 and following it up with an 8-foot birdie putt on the 9th. By the 11th Johnson had a four-shot lead, but the putter again went cold from short range and he carded back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13.
Meanwhile Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Ross Fisher made their own charges up the leaderboard, with Rahm briefly holding the outright lead before a pair of bogeys of his own.
Fleetwood birdied the final hole to get within one while Fisher ran out of holes to birdie, leaving DJ needing to par the last. The World’s best player produced what he called his best shot of the day from a bunker left of the fairway on the last, and a tap in for par was enough for DJ to clinch the first WGC title of the year.
“It means a lot because World Number One is a tough spot to be in,” he said following his win.
“There’s a lot of pressure on you but I came out and I played really well. I hit the ball great all week. The greens are tough to putt on and I didn’t feel like I putted my best, but I really hit the ball well and played just enough I guess because I won by one.”
Fleetwood’s second place pushes him up from 55th in the world rankings to 35, meaning that he may have just secured his spot in the field at the Masters.
Both Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas had difficulty finding birdies on Sunday, unable to make up ground on their playing partner. McIlroy had needed to finish the week top of the pile for his own chance at regaining the World No.1 Spot, but it was an impressive performance for his first competitive outing since injury.
He said: “I needed to get off to a fast start and I didn’t. That was really it. I mean you look at what DJ did through sort of the first nine holes, I needed to get off to a start like that. The course got a little trickier over the weekend. Maybe I just didn’t quite adjust to that”
“But all in all, first week back, it’s okay. But being two ahead going in to the weekend, obviously disappointed with the finish I had.”