Johnson began Sunday’s final round with a two-stroke cushion over 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Brian Harman, but he slowly pulled away after a 4-under 32 on the outward nine. He punctuated his dominance with the mammoth drive on No. 12 that saw his ball roll within inches of the flagstick for a near double eagle. The tap-in eagle was followed by three consecutive birdies to complete the dominant performance.
Harman, who carded a 1-under 72 on Sunday, wound up finishing third at 277, one stroke behind Jon Rahm.
Year’s Best Honored
Late December through early January is generally a time frame when golf organizations dole out year-end awards.
USGA champions Lexi Thompson and Bernhard Langer achieved such a distinction by the Golf Writers Association of America when they were voted LPGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions players of the year, respectively.
Thompson, the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, posted a pair of victories and six runner-up finishes while also claiming the Race to CME Globe. The 22-year-old also captured the Vare Trophy with the LPGA Tour’s lowest scoring average of 69.114 in 2017. Thompson won the GWAA honor in a close vote over reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Sung Hyun Park and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu.
Langer, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open champion, dominated the 50-and-over circuit again with seven victories, two of which were majors (KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and Regions Tradition). While his string of Charles Schwab Championships ended at four – he finished second behind Kevin Sutherland – the German did finish in the top 10 in 18 of his 21 starts.
Langer and Thompson will receive their awards at the 46th ISPS Handa GWAA Annual Awards Dinner presented by The PGA of America and the USGA on April 4 in Augusta, Ga.
Two more USGA champions were honored by AmateurGolf.com. Stewart Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who helped the USA regain the Walker Cup in September at The Los Angeles Country Club, was named the mid-amateur player of the year, while 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel was chosen as the senior player of the year.
In April, Hagestad, 26, of Newport Beach, Calif., became the first invited U.S. Mid-Amateur champion to not only make the cut in the Masters, but also earn low-amateur honors. Two months later, he qualified for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
Hanzel, 60, of Savannah, Ga., won six tournaments and was the runner-up in five others.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.