WGC – Mexico Championship

WGC – Mexico Championship

WGC – Mexico Championship
Mexico City, Mexico
Winner: Dustin Johnson

The high point of the World Golf Championship – Mexico Championship — for the rest of the field, at least — came in the third round, when Dustin Johnson double-bogeyed the par-fourth 10th. Johnson had gone 45 holes without a bogey, but more to the point, he had come to the 10th leading by six shots. The double bogey cut deeply into his runaway lead. Suddenly, there was hope.

Sorry. It was just an illusion. Said Rory McIlroy, who led the first round before Johnson took over: “He’s arguably the best player in the world.” Johnson might not have seemed so at the fractured 10th. He drove into the trees on the right, went into some bushes on hitting a branch while trying to wedge out, got a free drop from a sprinkler line, then hit a tree trunk and went into bushes again, and finally punched onto the green and two-putted from 40 feet — a brutal double-bogey-six. Others can get badly rattled by a double bogey at a time like this. The tournament could have been thrown wide open. But Johnson doesn’t and the tournament wasn’t.

“I knew I was playing well, so I didn’t really let it bother me,” Johnson said. “I kept my focus and played really solid coming in.” That is, before anyone could duck through that opening, Johnson slammed it shut with birdies at 11 and 12. He added two more at 15 and 17, shot 66 and was 16 under and leading by four over McIlroy.

Johnson, winning his second Mexico Championship in three years, formalized the finish with five birdies on the final nine to wrap up a card of 64-67-66-66, for a 21-under 263 total at the par-71 Chapultepec and a five-stroke victory. A bogey in the finale was his only other blot of the tournament. McIlroy racked up seven birdies and a closing bogey for his final-round 67–268 to finish second.

The tournament opened with some contrasting fireworks — some good, some not. McIlroy eagled the drivable No. 1 (his 10th hole) with a two iron and a six-foot putt, on his way to a 63 and a one-stroke lead. Tiger Woods, starting at No. 1, bounced his tee shot off a nearby temporary green and double-bogeyed, on his way to a par 71 and was never a factor. He finished tied for 10th but 13 shots behind. Displeased, he refused to speak to the media for the last two rounds, and instead left his parting words with a tour spokesman saying, in part, “I had never played in Mexico … and had an unbelievable experience.”

This was Johnson’s 20th tour victory, his sixth WGC win, but there was even more to be pleased about. “It’s starting to feel the way it did two years ago,” he said after his opening 64, meaning before he was injured in a home fall at the 2017 Masters. And after the win: “This is a big one for me,” he said. “It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year.”


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