Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

Johnson takes PGA opener

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Dustin Johnson ended a windy week with a wild ride Tuesday that carried him to a win in the PGA Tour season opener.

Despite hitting two drives into native areas that cost him three shots, Johnson never lost the lead at Kapalua. He closed with 5-under 68 for a four-shot victory in the Tournament of Champions, which was up for grabs with five holes remaining.

The tournament didn't start until the fourth day because of powerful wind and was shortened to 54 holes.

Steve Stricker came within a fraction of an inch of tying for the lead, his birdie putt peeling away on the 13th hole, where Johnson made double bogey. Then Johnson pitched in from 50 feet in front of the 14th green to restore his three-shot lead.

"It was nowhere near ho-hum," Johnson said. "I had to really fight hard."

Johnson (16-under 203) won for the sixth straight season. Only Phil Mickelson with nine straight years has a longer active streak of consecutive seasons with a PGA Tour victory.

Johnson has won the past three PGA Tour events reduced to 54 holes because of weather — rain at Pebble Beach in 2009, a hurricane at The Barclays in 2011 and gusts that topped 40 mph in Hawaii from a freak weather pattern.

"It gives me a lot of confidence going into this year," Johnson said.

begay's new job: Four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay starts this week at the Sony Open as a full-time member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and Golf Channel. He will be a walking course reporter. Dottie Pepper retired from NBC last year.

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