Dustin Johnson earned his 20th PGA Tour victory and second WGC Mexico Championship title in just three years with a convincing five shot win over Rory McIlroy on Sunday.
There was only ever one man on top in Mexico as Dustin Johnson became the 38th player to reach 20 wins in the history of the PGA TOUR, and continued his streak of 12 consecutive seasons with at least one victory.
"It means a lot, to get 20 wins out here is very difficult," said Johnson. "To do it before I turn 35 is pretty incredible. This is a big win for me, it gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year. I feel like the game is in good form right now."
He began the final round with a four-shot lead over the strongest field of the year so far, and despite an early two-shot swing in favour of nearest challenger Rory McIlroy, Johnson never seemed in danger of losing the top spot as he fired a final round five-under 66 at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
"Obviously was a very good week, got off to a great start" DJ said during his press conference after his win.
"I felt like all week I've really had control of the golf ball, I hit a lot of good shots and rolled the putter pretty well.
"Today was a big day. I knew Rory was going to be coming at me pretty good, I knew I had to have a good round if I wanted to win. The front nine I made some really nice saves which kept the momentum going."
The pivotal moments came early on in the round, as both players experienced two bizarrely similar occurrences on consecutive holes.
McIlroy had piled the pressure on early with a birdie on the second hole to DJ's bogey, but had given back a shot at the next as he missed from 5 feet for par.
With the gap at three shots, Dustin Johnson’s momentum looked to have momentarily stalled as his ball nestled up against a tree on the fifth hole, but fortune would end up favouring the leader. Arguing that his stance was affected by a cart path, he was judged to be able to gain free relief and walked off with an improbable par to keep ahead by the same margin.
On the very next hole Rory McIlroy encountered an almost identical situation (albeit a little further in to the trees), but the referee felt he didn’t have the same issues with the his stance on the cart-path as he DJ did, and he was forced to hack out left handed. McIlroy then decided to take his next shot on but found the water, and with a Johnson birdie the gap suddenly widened to five shots.
Missed, short putts seemed to be the order of the day for World No. 8 McIlroy, who once more was left to rue chances to gain any ground on the 7th and 9th holes and DJ pushed further ahead with a birdie of his own on the 10th.
But McIlroy’s fortunes began to take a turn from the better at the 11th, starting a run of what would be six birdies in seven holes to move to five-under-par for his round by the 18th tee. Unfortunately for the Northern Irishman there was little else he could do as DJ looked untouchable, making more gains of his own on the 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes - the latter so close to being an eagle two.
A final hole par for DJ and a three-putt bogey ensured a five-shot victory for the American, who is set to move back to World No.2 thanks to his win.
As for McIlroy, it was his fourth top-five finish in a row, having ended up five shots clear of Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The trio of Sergio Garcia, Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Smith were a shot further back, while Justin Thomas' round of the day 62 placed him in solo 9th.
Rounding out the top 10 was a group of four players that included Tiger Woods, who posted a fourth-round 69 which would have been much improved if not for a similar performance on the greens to McIlroy.
"I'm officially excited to get off Poa!" Woods said of the greens after his round.
WITB: Dustin Johnson
TaylorMade M5 Driver (10.5°), Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 X Tour Spec 2.0 shaft
TaylorMade M5 Fairway (15°), Project X HZRDUS Black 6.5 X shaft
TaylorMade P790 (3-iron), Dynamic Gold X100 shaft | TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto Irons (4-PW), Dynamic Gold X100
TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi Toe Wedges (52° & 60° and 64°) Hi-Toe
TaylorMade Spider Tour Black, SuperStroke Pistol GT 1.0
2019 TP5x (#1)