Dustin Johnson cruises to first Masters championship

Johnson broke records on his way to winning his first green jacket.

Dustin Johnson has been here before. This weekend, he showed why he’s the best in the world, as he easily won the 2020 Masters by five strokes at 20 under par.

The current No. 1-ranked golfer in the world seems to be right in the middle of things at just about every major tournament. Yet coming into this unique November Masters, Johnson’s only major title was the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Johnson had 19 top 10 major finishes before Sunday, and had gained a reputation of not being able to finish well when it matters the most.

Johnson is no stranger to leading in majors: 10 under par after two rounds at the 2015 British Open, a three-shot lead after 54 holes of the 2010 U.S. Open and a one-shot lead going into the final hole of the 2015 U.S. Open. However, each time, he was unable to hang on to win.

This weekend at Augusta, Johnson was in the same situation after a stellar seven-under third round, his second 65 of the tournament. The 36-year-old broke away from a nine-way tie at nine under par on Saturday, creating a four-stroke lead after 54 holes.

“It’s always tough to get it done in a major, no matter how well you’re playing,” Johnson remarked on CBS to Jim Nantz after his final round Sunday.

But this time, he didn’t let go of his lead.

After back-to-back bogeys on the front nine, Johnson birdied five of his final 13 holes on his way to a final round 68. In one of the most dominant major performances of the last decade, the PGA Tour veteran was either a leader or co-leader after each round. His score at 20 under par beat the 72-hole record previously held by Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods by two strokes, and Johnson set another Masters record with only four bogeys throughout the week.

After receiving his first green jacket from reigning champion Woods, Johnson was visibly emotional.

“It’s a dream come true … As a kid, [I] always dreamed about, you know, being a Masters champion,” he said.

Australian Cameron Smith and South Korean Sungjae Im finished tied for second at 15 under par, five strokes back of Johnson. The two young golfers showed great consistency and resiliency, as neither shot a round above 70 and both frequently scrambled to save par after tee shots into the rough.

Other notable performances include Rory McIlroy, who is still looking for his first green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam. The Northern Irishman recovered from an opening round three over 75 to finish tied for fifth at 11 under par, one stroke behind Justin Thomas, the No. 3-ranked golfer in the world. Likewise, Brooks Koepka, who has won four majors since 2017, rallied back from a slow start to finish at 10 under for the tournament, tied with Jon Rahm.

Betting favorite Bryson DeChambeau, who won the U.S. Open in September, struggled throughout the week on his way to 2-under par for the tournament. DeChambeau barely made the cut after apparently dealing with dizzy spells, which led to a lack of rhythm with his tee shots, the strongest part of his game.

Defending Masters champion Woods also struggled with consistency, including a 10 on the par-three 12th hole on Sunday. Woods, who has won at Augusta five times, recuperated and birdied five of his final six holes to end at one under par at his 23rd Masters.

Nevertheless, the 2020 Masters — even with its seven-month delay and a lack of fans — was all about Dustin Johnson’s dominant performance, asserting his status as one of the top players of the last two decades.