Dustin Johnson polished off an historic outing at the 54th Masters on Sunday, turning in a final-round 68 to claim his first green jacket and second career win at a major championship. Johnson’s victory came on the heels of a record-setting 54-hole pace after he posted 65s in two of his first three rounds on the week.
His final score of 268 (-20) is the lowest to par in the history of the Masters and ties the lowest score at any major championship.
Johnson played all of Round 3 bogey-free on Saturday but stumbled early Sunday out of the gates, bogeying Nos. 4 and 5 as his lead slipped to within an uncomfortable margin. But as he did all week, Johnson showed his mettle by playing the final 13 holes bogey-free, making birdies on 6, 8, 13, 14 and 15 to pad his lead and comfortably cruise to the win.
His five-stroke margin of victory is the largest since Tiger Woods’ 12-stroke victory lap at the 1997 Masters.
Runner-up finishers Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith kept things interesting late into Sunday. Im posted the lowest score ever by a player in his Masters debut, and Smith became the first golfer in the history of the Masters to post four rounds in the 60s.
Still, Johnson’s brilliance would not be denied. He closed the weekend at 11 under through his final 36 holes, and he tactically tore apart the challenge of Augusta National, tying a Masters record for most greens in regulation in at least the last 35 years, per Justin Ray.
For Johnson, who previously had won just one major championship at the 2016 U.S. Open, it’s a redemptive performance. He has, on four separate occasions, finished second or tied for second at major championships, including last year when he finished T2 at the Masters.
1. Dustin Johnson (-20): Not only did Johnson’s 20 under finish make for the lowest score to par at Augusta National, it also tied for the lowest score to par in major championship history. I hesitate to throw out the F word in print, but what Johnson did was bordering on flawless. His four-round score of 268 comprised the fewest bogeys through four rounds by a winner at Augusta National, and he controlled his game tee to green in a way that will be etched into the fabric of Masters lore.
T2. Cameron Smith (-15): In just his fourth appearance at the Masters, the 27-year-old Aussie acquitted himself. He was steady throughout the four rounds, starting with an opening-day 67 and culminating with 68-69-69. It’s his strongest career finish at a major championship event, besting his T4 finish at the U.S. Open in 2015.
T2. Sungjae Im (-15): The best debut ever by a golfer at the Masters now belongs to Im, who set the record at 273 and shattered the previous record by a whopping three strokes. Im, a 22-year-old, was aggressive to the point of recklessness throughout the final