USGA CHAMPIONS
Champs Update: Milestone Win for Johnson in Mexico February 24, 2019 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson posted 21 under par in winning the WGC-Mexico Championship by five strokes. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

Dustin Johnson continued to see his career path ascend into rarified air. It’s fitting, given the setting of his most recent triumph. Competing at 7,800-plus feet above sea level at the Club de Golf Chapultepec on the outskirts of Mexico City, the 2016 U.S. Open champion not only claimed his second WGC-Mexico Championship in the last three years, by five strokes against a stellar field, he also became the seventh player to post at least one PGA Tour victory in 12 consecutive seasons.

Johnson, 34, joined a legendary group of players, all of whom have won at least one U.S. Open title. Jack Nicklaus (17), Arnold Palmer (17), Billy Casper (16), Lee Trevino (14) and Walter Hagen (12) are all in the World Golf Hall of Fame and Tiger Woods (14) is destined to join them.

Johnson also became the 37th player to reach 20 career victories, seven of which have been either WGC events (six) or a major (U.S. Open). By reaching that milestone, Johnson also earned lifetime membership on the PGA Tour.

“To get 20 wins out here is very difficult,” said Johnson. “To do it before I turn 35 is pretty incredible. It definitely means a lot. This is a big win for me. It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year. And I feel like the game is in good form right now.”

Although the long-hitting Johnson got off to a shaky start – he avoided disaster on the second hole by making a 15-foot par-saving putt, bogeyed the par-3 third and got a fortunate drop from a cart path on the fifth hole that led to a par – he put on a remarkable display of power, touch and moxie over the final nine holes to keep his closest pursuer, 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, at bay.

But even when McIlroy birdied six of the first seven holes on the inward nine, Johnson had a response for his fellow South Florida resident. He recorded five birdies on the second nine to post 5-under 66 and a 72-hole total of 21-under 263, seven strokes better than when he edged Tommy Fleetwood by a stroke in winning the 2017 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Three-time U.S. Open champion Woods carded a final-round 69 to earn a share of 10th in his first competitive event in Mexico.

Prestige(ous) Title for Hovland

Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland, a junior at Oklahoma State University, carded a final-round 66 in breezy conditions to win The Prestige presented by Charles Schwab last week on the Norman Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. It was the third collegiate victory of the 2018-19 season for Hovland, who posted a 54-hole total of 208. Earlier this season, Hovland won the individual portion of the East Lake Cup and he shared medalist honors with teammate and 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up Matthew Wolff at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate.

Oklahoma State finished second as a team to Louisiana State, which was paced by 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Philip Barbaree.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.