European Tour

Johnson holds steady to capture Saudi International title

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Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

World number one Dustin Johnson's imperious run of form continued when he won the $3.5 million Saudi International for the second time in three years on Sunday.

The 36-year-old American, who finished runner-up here last year, shot a two-under par 68 in tricky conditions to tally 15-under par 265. That eventually proved to be two shots better than the group in tied second place at 13-under par - England's Justin Rose (65) and American Tony Finau (67).

It was Johnson's third win in eight starts since winning the Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour, a run that includes his Masters triumph as well. His only finish outside the top-10 since finishing runner-up in the PGA Championship in August last year is a tied 11th place at this year's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Johnson started the round two shots ahead of Frenchman Victor Perez and even though he missed birdie chances from inside four feet on the 10th and 12th holes, he managed to stay ahead with a solitary birdie on the par-5 fourth hole.

Rose completed his bogey-free round with a birdie on the 18th, but Johnson's closest challengers - Finau and Perez - made crucial mistakes coming down the stretch to give him enough breathing space.

Finau, searching for his first international win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open on the PGA Tour, dropped shots on the 16th and 17th holes before a birdie on the last. Perez short-sided himself on the par-3 16th and made a double bogey there. He eventually finished tied fourth at 12-under par alongside Scotland's Calum Hill (67).

Johnson failed to make an up and down for par on the 16th, but he hit a massive drive on the 350-yard par-4 17th hole and then chipped to less than three feet for a birdie.

Johnson's win also marks the first time a reigning world No.1 has won a regular European Tour event since Rory McIlroy's triumph at the 2015 Dubai Desert Classic.

Leading and selected final-round scores from the European Tour's Saudi International on Sunday at Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City (par 70/GBR & IRL unless stated):

265 - Dustin Johnson (USA) 67-64-66-68

267 - Tony Finau (USA) 68-65-67-67, Justin Rose 68-66-68-65

268 - Victor Perez (FRA) 67-66-66-69, Calum Hill 65-68-68-67

269 - Tyrrell Hatton 67-67-66-69, Viktor Hovland (NOR) 68-66-67-68, Rasmus Hoejgaard (DEN) 70-69-68-62, Ryan Fox (NZL) 65-65-71-68

270 - George Coetzee (RSA) 66-70-65-69, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 65-71-68-66

271 - Paul Casey 69-68-67-67, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 70-67-64-70, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 67-68-68-68, Sean Crocker (USA) 68-72-65-66, Soeren Kjeldsen (DEN) 69-66-65-71, David Horsey 61-71-69-70

272 - Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 65-70-68-69, Ian Poulter 67-69-67-69, Martin Kaymer (GER) 67-68-66-71

Selected others:

274 - Tommy Fleetwood 68-65-73-68

275 - Shane Lowry 70-67-67-71

278 - Lee Westwood 67-70-67-74

279 - Phil Mickelson (USA) 68-67-72-72

281 - Patrick Reed (USA) 69-70-68-74, Graeme McDowell 70-70-73-68

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