February 15, 2009

Johnson Wins Rain Shortened Pebble Beach

With wind and rain making the continuation of play impossible, the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am is over after 54 holes

Grounds crews labor to remove a tree, blown down by the high winds, from the third fairway.

Grounds crews labor to remove a tree, blown down by the high winds, from the third fairway.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Some 40 hours after hitting his last shot, Dustin Johnson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Monday when rain created a small river through one fairway and flooded greens, forcing officials to cancel the final round.

Johnson built a four-shot lead Saturday with a 67 at Poppy Hills, holing a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that figured to give him a cushion going into the final round. But it was never played.

Rain and wind strong enough to topple a 40-foot tree suspended the final round Sunday, and nearly 1½ inches of rain and a forecast for more gloom along the Monterey Peninsula left the PGA Tour no choice but to declare Johnson the winner.

Johnson, 24, won for the second time in his last nine starts and joins Anthony Kim as the only players under 25 with two PGA Tour victories. This one came at a particularly good time.

He moves up to No. 45 in the world, qualifying for the Accenture Match Play Championship next week. Johnson also qualified for the first two majors of the year, including his first trip to the Masters.

Mike Weir of Canada, desperate to play knowing the conditions would be tough and sloppy, had to settle for runner-up. It would have been the second time in four years that Weir played in the final group at Pebble Beach.

Johnson finished at 15-under 201, the first 54-hole winner on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson won the BellSouth Classic outside Atlanta in 2005. That tournament concluded on a Monday.

This was the first time a 54-hole winner played his final shot on a Saturday since Pebble Beach in 1999, when Payne Stewart birdied his final hole for a one-shot lead. The final round was washed out Sunday and the tournament shortened because of a storm system that stretched from the California coast to the shores of Japan.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen finished alone in third.

The cancellation was a blow to D.J. Trahan, who was in a three-way tie for sixth going into the last round. He would have needed to finish fifth alone to qualify for the Match Play, but instead will move up to No. 66 and need two players to withdraw.

While it goes down in the books as a 54-hole event, Johnson looked tough to beat all week.

He opened with a 7-under 65 at Pebble Beach, added a 69 at Spyglass Hill to stay near the lead, then surged ahead with birdies on all the par 5s at Poppy Hills for a 67 to build a big lead.

Johnson now forces himself into the conversation of young stars in golf. His other victory late last year came at Turning Stone, part of the Fall Series when the stars stay away. He beat a field at Pebble that included five of the top 15 in the world.