Wednesday, April 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Watney takes 13th as Johnson wins PGA opener

DHS graduate Nick Watney, right, talks with fellow PGA Tour pro Bill Hass before a round at this week's Tournament of Champions. Watney finished Tuesday's final round in a tie for 13th at the PGA Tour's season-opening event. AP photo

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Dustin Johnson disappeared into a small valley of bushes and high grass as he searched for another errant tee shot, this one costing him a double bogey and making the final round of the Tournament of Champions far more exciting than he needed it to be.

Undaunted by his mistakes or the thought of blowing a big lead, he blasted driver on the next hole despite the potential for more trouble. This one was pure, rolling back off the front of the green. Johnson chipped in from 50 feet for eagle and he was on his way.

Such a wild sequence — double bogey-eagle — is par for the course for this big-hitting American.

And it was only appropriate that this weird, windy start to the PGA Tour season would end Tuesday with such a wild ride. Johnson had a five-shot lead after seven holes. His lead was down to one shot with five holes to play. He wound up closing with a 5-under 68 for a four-shot victory over defending champion Steve Stricker.

Davis High graduate Nick Watney, who shot a 69 in Monday’s first round to tie Johnson for the early lead, ended up in a tie for 13th. He carded a 73 in the second round — also on Monday — and finished his tournament at 3-under after a 74 on Tuesday.

The winners-only tournament didn’t start until the fourth day because of gusts that topped 40 mph, forcing officials to shorten it to 54 holes. Once it finally got under way, it was over in 29 hours. Perhaps it was only fitting that a tournament delayed by a powerful wind was won by a guy who overpowered the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

“It definitely got close out there (Tuesday),” Johnson said. “Sometimes I hit a couple of bad drives, but I was always able to bounce back and do what I needed to do to stay out front.”

Johnson won for the sixth straight season since leaving college at Coastal Carolina, the longest streak since Tiger Woods won in 14 straight years. Only Phil Mickelson (nine) has a longer active streak of most consecutive years with a PGA Tour win.

Stricker put up a good fight on one good leg. He has been feeling a shooting pain down his left side on every shot and limped his way around the most mountainous course on tour for 54 holes in two days. He closed with a 69.

Brandt Snedeker went 5 under during a four-hole stretch on the front nine to get within one shot of the lead until he closed out the front nine with three straight bogeys. Snedeker had a 69 and finished alone in third, six shots behind. He moved to No. 8 in the world ranking, second only to Woods among Americans.

Masters champion Bubba Watson (71) and former PGA champion Keegan Bradley (70) were another shot back.

Wire and staff reports

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