Published: Sat, April 01, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Johnson holds off Rahm for WGC Match Play crown

After winning his third consecutive PGA Tour event, including his second since becoming No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, on Sunday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson wasn't certain whether he would remain in the field for this week's Shell Houston Open.

A key moment looked to have arrived at the 11th, Johnson saving par and a half from 6ft as Rahm looked to impose himself further on the match.

"I'm proud of how I played, the way I stayed in there", Johnson, enjoying the form of his life, told reporters.

What promised to be an epic final at the Austin Country Club in Texas didn't live up to its billing on the front nine but turned into an enthralling battle over the closing stages courtesy of some explosive play by Rahm.

Rahm, a powerful 22-year-old who won the Farmers Insurance Open in March, held a ideal record for the week as he entered the championship match, but was overcome by the World No.1 on the final hole.

With Tanihara in trouble on the 15th, Johnson came up well short of the green with a wedge and missed a 5-foot par putt to win the hole.

He then fashioned a nerveless, up-and-down par from the thick grass just short of the green on the par-4 18th to close out the match.

"It's fantastic how he's able to keep cool the entire round", Rahm said.

"He's just a ideal, complete player".

The 32-year-old reigning US Open champion chalked up a third straight tournament with his 1-up win against the up-and-coming Spaniard, and in doing so also became the first player to win all four World Golf Championships. Johnson won the Genesis Open in February and the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship earlier this month.

Rahm got back to one down heading down the 18th, and possible extra holes looked to be on the cards until he fluffed a chip from the edge, and Johnson made par to halve the hole and take the title. "Anytime I did something, if it could go wrong, it just went wrong", he said.

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The great start wasn't enough for Points when he made three bogeys in a five-hole stretch around the turn. "To play golf like that and hit the putts, it was the flawless round". It's one of my favourite tournaments to play every year.

Former Walker Cup player Casey Wittenburg won the Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

He capped his week by winning two tight tussles on Sunday, digging deep to beat Hideto Tanihara, 1 up, in the semifinals, and then rookie Jon Rahm, 1 up, in the finals on a sun-drenched Sunday by the Colorado River. "It shows me that I can compete with someone like DJ (Johnson) and any other player", said Rahm.

Not even Tiger Woods can boast all of the four World Golf Championship titles in his crammed trophy cabinet.

"Being the number one player in the world kind of drives me to work harder and to get better".

Johnson took advantage of Rahm's nerves and suddenly balky putter to accept a 5-up lead through the first eight holes of the championship match. I feel like there will be some more to do it.

South Korea's Mirim Lee stormed to a six-shot success in the Kia Classic in California.

It was the dream match between these two outstanding players that golf fans wanted most in the finals.

It was the third straight victory for the top-ranked Johnson.

Lee, 26, tied the tournament record set in 2015 by Cristie Kerr. The Spaniard then drove it over the green on 18, but failed to get up-and-down for a birdie.

So Yeon Ryu and Austin Ernst tied for second at 14 under.

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