Johnson breaks through at Turning Stone
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 Turning Stone Resort Championship | Round Four | 06 Oct 2008
24-year-old rookie Dustin Johnson has won his first PGA Tour event, producing birdies on his last two holes at the Turning Stone Championship in Verona, New York to edge ahead of Robert Allenby, who had led for most of the day.
Tied with Allenby after a birdie from 6 feet at the 17th, Johnson used his prodigious length to advantage at the closing par five 18th, smashing a 350 yard drive, followed by a fairway wood which flew over the green at the 624 yard hole. He pitched to 8 feet and when that putt disappeared he was effectively the champion. Other players remained on the golf course but their task was too great.
The victory will secure Johnson’s future on the PGA Tour until at least the end of 2010 but, given the composure he displayed today, there may well be many more victories in store for him. He started the season well although leading into this week’s event he had slipped to 128th on the money list. He is now 41st.
Johnson gained access to the PGA Tour by finishing 14th at the Tour School last December. He had earlier won Stage One by a massive 8 shots and finished second at Stage Two. A successful Walker Cup player in 2007, Johnson appears headed for a huge career on the PGA Tour.
Allenby, looking for his first victory in seven years on the PGA Tour, started the final round in 7th position although only two shots from the third round lead of Tag Ridings and Charles Howell.
Three early birdies appeared to give the highest ranked player in the field control of the event and he edged two shots ahead through the early stages of the back nine holes. His only bogey of the day would come at the par four 15th when his tee shot found the trees right.
Allenby had another chance at the last to grab the outright lead but his putt from 12 feet stopped just short. Two minutes later Johnson holed from shorter range and the event was essentially his.
There were many players in with a chance over the closing stages including several Australians. Mathew Goggin and Steve Allan eventually finished in a share of third with Ryuji Imada, Woody Austin, Robert Garrigus, Davis Love and Charles Howell III all of whom will be wondering what might have been, having finished just two behind.
Allan has played beautifully in his last two starts finishing 4th at the Viking Classic and now 3rd this week. He has made US$393,000 of his US$545,000 in 2008 in his last two starts.
Nick O’Hern was 10th and despite a quiet year, he has earned close to US$1.3 million in 2008. O’Hern may still be thinking about the horror start to his third round where he dropped three shots in his opening two holes.
Jason Day had a great opportunity to secure his immediate future on the PGA Tour when trailing by just one heading into the final round but a shaky start to his round set the tone for the day. Day finished 19th and moves his earnings to US$669,000 and is in 128th position on the money list.
John Senden was 27th, Nathan Green and Tim Wilkinson 36th, Peter Lonard 55th, Brett Rumford 66th, while Nick Flanagan and Rod Pampling made the first cut but missed the second.
The PGA Tour will now head south and west to San Antonio for this week’s Valero Texas Open.