King Abdullah Economic City - American
Dustin Johnson capped a roller-coaster back nine with birdies on his
last two holes and secure his first win in a full-field European Tour
event at the inaugural Saudi International on Sunday.
34-year-old American closed with a three-under par 67 to finish on
19-under par 261, two better than China's Li Haotong, who birdied the
last to take solo second place with a 69.
England's Tom Lewis (65)
made a spirited charge, but after making five birdies in his first five
holes, he ran out of steam and finished third at 264.
Min Woo Lee, younger brother of LPGA Tour star Minjee Lee, shot a
second successive round of seven-under par 63 in only his second start
as a professional to finish solo fourth, one shot behind Lewis.
Frenchman Alex Levy (65) was fifth on 266.
"It feels really good.
Any time you can win a professional golf tournament, no matter where it
is in the world, it's a big win. I'm honoured to be the champion, and
I'm very pleased," said Johnson.
"I'm heading back to the States
tonight, and I've got three big weeks in a row. I've got Pebble Beach,
LA and Mexico coming up. To win here, obviously the game is in good
Playing in the final group after starting the day tied on
16-under par, Johnson and Li were neck and neck after eight holes with
one birdie to show in their rounds. But Li moved ahead with a chipped-in
birdie from a difficult position on the ninth to take a one-shot lead
into the back nine.
It took a lipped-out par putt from less than
two feet on the par-4 10th hole to finally wake up Johnson. He hit a
brilliant tee shot on the par-3 11th to tap-in distance to catch up with
Li, and then made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th to edge ahead
by a shot.
The advantage doubled on the long and tough par-4 13th
hole when Li made a bogey from the greenside bunker and followed it up
with another on the 14th hole.
was more drama to come. Johnson hit his tee shot into the Red Sea on the
picturesque par-3 16th hole. He did manage to make a 15-foot putt to
avoid a double bogey and with Li making a birdie on the 15th, the lead
was down to one shot going into the final two holes.
Johnson managed to birdie both, while Li could not convert his on the 17th after hitting a wild tee shot.
was in the news recently when he was controversially penalised two
shots on the final hole of the Dubai Desert Classic under the new Rules
of Golf after his caddie was deemed to have lined up his putt. The
penalty dropped him from tied third place to a share of 12th position.
think he deserved to win," said a satisfied Li.
"It was a very good
match, especially the front nine where I played really good. Just a
little bit off on the back nine. I wasn't my best over there again, but I
learned a lot and especially that last few holes was good for me."
28-year-old Lewis, enjoying a resurgence in form after having dropped
out of the top 400 of the world rankings in September last year, was
delighted with his effort.
"I was happy with that. I hit some
really good shots and tap-ins a lot of the time the first few holes.
Unfortunately, I hit a poor shot into the sixth and resulted in a bogey.
I didn't hole any putts coming in," said Lewis, who has now risen to
68th in the world.
Leading final-round scores from the European Tour's Saudi International on Sunday at the par-70 Royal Greens Golf Club:
261 – Dustin Johnson (USA) 68-61-65-67
263 – Li Haotong (CHN) 67-65-62-69
264 – Tom Lewis (ENG) 71-66-62-65
265 – Min Woo Lee (AUS) 69-70-63-63
266 – Alexander Levy (FRA) 69-65-67-65
269 – Joost Luiten (NED) 66-71-69-63, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 68-68-68-65, Ian Poulter (ENG) 68-67-68-66, Scott Hend (AUS) 70-63-69-67, Ryan Fox (NZL) 67-67-67-68
270 – Justin Harding (RSA) 65-72-70-63, Gavin Green (MAL) 68-68-67-67
271 – Bradley Dredge (WAL) 67-70-72-62, Victor Perez (FRA) 66-70-71-64, Richard Sterne (RSA) 66-68-70-67, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 69-71-63-68, Ross Fisher (ENG) 65-72-65-69
272 – Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 72-65-69-66, Marcus Kinhult (SWE) 67-71-67-67, Renato Paratore (ITA) 65-74-65-68, Zander Lombard (RSA) 65-67-70-70
273 – Yusaku Miyazato (JPN) 71-65-70-67, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 63-74-69-67
281 – Patrick Reed (USA) 67-71-72-71
282 – Brooks Koepka (USA) 69-70-74-69