World Number One Dustin Johnson denied Englishman Tommy Fleetwood his first World Golf Championship victory in Mexico as the American confirmed his status as the best player on the planet with a one-shot victory at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
The reigning US Open champion recorded a closing 68 for a 14 under total, one better than Fleetwood and two clear of the European Tour’s newest member John Rahm and England’s Ross Fisher. Belgium’s Thomas Pieters (68) shared fifth with third round leader Justin Thomas (72) of the USA.
Fleetwood holed from 40 feet on the last to complete a superb 66 and secure the biggest payday of his career of over $1 million and open up a gap of 965,676 points over Fabrizio Zanotti at the head of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.
Fisher fired nine birdies in a closing 65 and Rahm reeled in Johnson in thrilling fashion before costly bogeys on the 16th and 17th.
Johnson only moved to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking with victory in the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open a fortnight ago but he has now established himself as the man to catch at the top of golf’s world order.
Fleetwood's performance will take the 26 year old to a career-high of 35th in the world, with Rahm up to 25th.
Rory McIlroy began the final round two shots off the lead but was never able to mount a charge, the World Number Three finishing joint seventh after carding two bogeys and two birdies in a closing 71.
Dustin Johnson: “It means a lot because World Number One is a tough spot to be in. There's a lot of pressure on you but I came out and I played really well. I hit the ball great all week. The greens are tough to putt on and I didn't feel like I putted my best, but I really hit the ball well and played just well enough I guess because I won by one."
Tommy Fleetwood: “It's tough to beat the best player in the world, isn't it? It was a great back nine. I think started pretty well after all a couple bad shots. So I felt comfortable on the back nine and made the most of those two par 5s and a couple more birdies at the last.
“I wasn't overly worried about where the leaders were. Dustin and Jon kind of came backwards a little bit. I didn't know what Jon was doing, I don't know if he made a couple bogeys or double bogey or something. To be honest, I was kind of looking at trying to get third on my own at one stage, and then before you know it I saw the scores on the last green and I thought I might have a chance at winning it. But it was a really good putt on the last. It was a big one. It would have been nice to get in a playoff and see how we did, but overall it was a good day.”
Jon Rahm: “You know, I didn't play great every day and still had a chance to win the tournament. That's exactly where ‑‑ we're not going to play great every single day, but the days that we don't have our A game, to have respectable scores is going to keep you going for a long time and I was just glad I could do that. My first chance here on this golf course, first time I played this kind of event and to actually have a chance and be in it the first time, it's really nothing but positive.
Rory McIlroy: “I needed to get off to a fast start and I didn't. That was really it. I mean you look at what DJ did through sort of the first nine holes, I needed to get off to a start like that. The course got a little trickier over the weekend. Maybe I just didn't quite adjust to that. But all in all, first week back, it's okay. But being two ahead going into the weekend, obviously disappointed with the finish I had.”
THE EUROPEAN TOUR - CELEBRATING GOLF. WORLDWIDE.
About The European Tour
The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2017, the European Tour International Schedule features a minimum of 47 tournaments in 26 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai. The year-long competition crowns the European Tour Number One at the end of the season, a title claimed in 2016 by Henrik Stenson for the second time.
Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 27 Members celebrate a total of 53 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.
The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 28 tournaments in 22 countries in 2016, and the Senior Tour, which featured 13 tournaments in nine countries in 2016. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup.
The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.
About The Rolex Series
The Rolex Series is the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s international schedule, featuring eight events each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million. It comprises: the BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28), the HNA Open de France (June 29-July 2) the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 6-9), the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (July 13-16), the Italian Open (October 12-15), the Turkish Airlines Open (November 2-5), the Nedbank Golf Challenge (November 9-12) and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 16-19), where the 2017 Race to Dubai champion will be crowned.