Johnson charges late to win LIV Golf Vegas title

Las VEGAS: Dustin Johnson sank a 15-foot birdie putt on his penultimate hole and salvaged par at the last to win the LIV Golf Las Vegas title on Saturday by one stroke.

The 39-year-old American birdied three of the last six holes to fire a one-under par 69 in cold and windy conditions and finished 54 holes at Las Vegas Country Club on 12-under 198.

That was good enough to give the 2020 Masters and 2016 US Open winner a one-stroke victory over countrymen Talor Gooch and Peter Uihlein with American Matthew Wolff fourth on 10-under.

"It's a great win," Johnson said. "I knew it was going to be tough with the conditions. A lot of really good players were right around the lead so I knew I was going to have to play well if I wanted to win."

England's Paul Casey, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and American Jason Kokrak shared fifth on 201 with Spain's Jon Rahm, the reigning Masters champion, eighth on 202.

Johnson, a 24-time winner on the PGA Tour, took his third LIV Golf League triumph, his other titles in the Saudi-backed series coming at Boston in 2022 and last year in Tulsa, both in playoffs.

Johnson answered a bogey at 11 with a birdie at 13, then birdied the par-5 15th to grab the lead alone at 11-under.

Uihlein sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the 17th to match him and Gooch, who took a double bogey at 10 to fall back, birdied four of his final six holes, the last at the first hole, to share the lead as well.

That set the stage for Johnson's dramatic go-ahead putt at 17, but the tension was far from over.

Johnson's tee shot at 18 landed in the right rough, but he blasted out and onto the green 20 feet from the hole. He rolled his birdie attempt close to the hole and tapped in for the title.

"You knew it was going to be a grind from start to finish," Johnson said. "Making a clutch birdie there on 17 to give me a one-shot lead coming to 18 and hit a great (second) shot at 18 so I just had the two-putt for victory."

Johnson, who shared the 36-hole lead with Bryson DeChambeau at 11-under, opened with a birdie at the par-5 first but stumbled in the middle of the round with bogeys at the sixth, ninth and 11 before hitting his birdie binge late.

Smash, captained by five-time major winner Brooks Koepka, won the LIV Vegas team title on 33-under, defeating Johnson's 4Aces squad by seven strokes. Smash had Gooch, McDowell and Kokrak in the top seven individually. - AFP

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