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Dustin Johnson earns his Saudi show-up money

Dustin Johnson wins 2021 Saudi International
Dustin Johnson wins the European Tour's Saudi International on Sunday for his 4th title in his past 8 starts worldwide.

American wins Saudi International for 2nd time in 3 years, cementing his status as world’s No. 1 golfer and a Masters favorite

Dustin Johnson showed that he wants more than mere appearance money to play in Saudi Arabia.

Johnson further cemented his six-month hold on the world’s No. 1 ranking with a two-stroke victory Sunday at the European Tour’s Saudi International. It was his second triumph in the 3-year-old event in three appearances, following a runner-up result last year.

The victory, Johnson’s fifth worldwide since the game restarted in mid-2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was the 26th of his career on major professional tours, including 24 on the PGA Tour. In his past eight worldwide starts, dating to a victory Aug. 23 at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust, Johnson, 36, owns four victories and two runners-up finishes.  

Johnson coasted to a 2-under 68 on Sunday at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City for a 15-under 265 total (scores). He was one of 11 Americans in the event, many of whom received undisclosed appearance fees, which are prohibited on the PGA Tour. The Saudi International was played opposite the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open, the third of five events on the West Coast Swing.

“I knew that I was hitting it well, and I saw the leaderboard and the guys were playing well,” Johnson said. “I just played solid all day.

“It’s definitely nice to get a win not on my tour. I’m really excited about the rest of the year.”

Johnson will return to the U.S. and be a favorite to repeat as Masters champion in two months when the PGA Tour heads to Augusta National.

American Tony Finau shared second place with England’s Justin Rose at 13-under 267. Among other Americans, Sean Crocker and Kurt Kitayama tied for 12th at 271; Bryson DeChambeau placed T-18 at 272; Kevin Na finished T-21 at 273; and Phil Mickelson tied for 53rd.

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