PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – An onrushing 24-year-old South Carolinian will have to wait to sate that golfer’s inner curiosity about how he might function playing a final round with a four-shot lead.
What’s not uncertain, though, is Dustin Johnson’s fresh place in any conversation about wildly promising 20-something PGA Tour golfers.
When overnight deluges left Pebble Beach unplayable again on Monday even as the midmorning turned up pristine, the outcome of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am reverted to the 54-hole scores from Saturday.
That made Johnson the champion at 15 under par over the event’s three courses – four shots ahead of Mike Weir – and that meant Johnson, a rookie in 2008 reputed mostly for ball-annihilation, suddenly has won two of his last nine events to join only Anthony Kim among sub-25-year-olds with multiple wins.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Johnson said.
His speechlessness stemmed partly from his penchant for few words and partly from the realization that accompanied the congratulatory call he received at 7:15 a.m. Monday, as he prepared for his round: Now he’ll also get to play this little tournament 45 minutes down Interstate 20 from his hometown of Columbia, S.C.
“It means a lot especially for me because now I get to play in Augusta, and it’s always been a dream for me to get to go there, and I’m very excited about that,” Johnson said.
Although he attended the Masters as a teenager, he never has played Augusta National, declining several invitations because he thought it important to earn his way. Three gaudy rounds on the Monterey Peninsula mean he’ll have done so not just as a player but as a player to watch.