Golf

Johnson proves why he's No. 1, McIlroy shows why he's not

Dustin Johnson started his reign as world No. 1 in the best possible way by winning the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The long-hitting American surrendered a big lead on the back nine before carding a three-under 68 to secure a one-stroke victory over Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (66) at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Johnson finished at 14-under 270 for his second consecutive victory, after winning the Genesis Open two weeks ago.

That five-stroke victory at Riviera in California vaulted Johnson to the No. 1 ranking for the first time.

The reigning US Open champion became only the fifth player to win his first event after moving atop the world rankings.

In the process, he matched a feat by Welshman Ian Woosnam, Australia's Adam Scott, Fiji's Vijay Singh and American David Duval.

If Johnson felt the pressure in Mexico, it hardly showed.

"It means a lot," said the 32-year-old, when asked how it felt to win on his debut as world No. 1.

"It's a tough spot to be in.

"There's a lot of pressure on you.

"I came out and hit the ball really well. I played great all week."

It was a different story for Rory McIlroy, who never looked like he would regain his No. 1 ranking as a cold putter prevented him from mounting a challenge in the final round.

Starting the day two strokes off the lead, the Northern Irishman, 27, missed a seven-foot birdie chance at the first hole, which set the tone for a frustrating afternoon.

"I needed to get off to a fast start and I didn't," said McIlroy, who shot an even-par 71 to finish equal seventh, four strokes behind Johnson.

A victory would have given McIlroy the top ranking, provided Johnson had finished worse than solo fourth. 
- REUTERS

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