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Breaking Down Dustin Johnson's Season-Opening Win at Kapalua

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

Breaking Down Dustin Johnson's Season-Opening Win at Kapalua

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    Dustin Johnson, despite a few questionable decisions on the closing nine, made relatively light work of the Plantation Course over the three-round, weather-shortened Tournament of Champions.

    Much has been written about Johnson donning the lei and lifting the trophy on Tuesday (strange to write that); however, here are a few additional morsels of information breaking down the South Carolinian’s victory.

Dustin Johnson: King of the 54-Hole Tournament

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    Dustin Johnson has now won three 54-hole tournaments. His other 54-hole tournament victories came at the 2011 The Barclays and the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

    Certainly, this has to be one of the stranger coincidences in golf, as there’s no conceivable explanation for why Johnson plays so well in weather-shortened events, save for his easygoing demeanor.

    Johnson has now won seven times since joining the tour in 2008.

He Tried to Give It Away on the Back Nine...

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    A victory that Johnson called, “Nowhere near ho-hum” nearly didn’t happen after Johnson made a mess of the 13th hole, which resulted in a double bogey and cut his lead over Steve Stricker to one shot.

    For as foolish as the decision to bomb a driver on the short par-four 14th looked coming off his performance at the previous hole, no one can dispute the result: a drive landing just short of the green, which Johnson proceeded to pitch in for an eagle two, effectively sealing the tournament.

Johnson Joins Mickelson and Woods

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    Now with a PGA Tour victory in each of his six seasons since joining the tour, Dustin Johnson has joined the only other player to accomplish the same feat: Tiger Woods

    If this weren’t distinguished enough company, the Coastal Carolina University grad joined Phil Mickelson with his victory, “winning at least one event in six consecutive years.” Mickelson, for his part has won an event in nine straight seasons, so Johnson has something to which he can aspire.

Some Other Numbers of Note

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    51.1: Percentage of fairways Johnson hit for the week, placing him last in the field in the category.

    89.9: Percentage of greens in regulation Johnson hit, second in the category for the week.

    7: Number of wins Johnson now has in his 20s, placing him at the top of the category, ahead of Rory McIlory .

    6: Number of practice rounds Johnson played at Kapalua in preparation for the tournament

    All stats from PGATour.com

Speculation Abounds About Paulina Gretzky

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    As Alan Shipnuck of Sports Illustrated reported, “Needing to break in new irons and a new driver, Johnson arrived early and played six practice rounds. (That also allowed him to spend some quality time with his new squeeze Paulina Gretzky.”

    For his part, Johnson hasn’t confirmed the rumors. Gretzky is, at very least, a very devoted Dustin Johnson fan, as she followed him throughout the tournament.

    However, as Bleacher Report’s Gabe Zaldivar notes, Hawaii is “a locale that makes it incredibly easy to be more than friendly.” Thus, golf fans will have to see what happens with the (unofficial) couple once the West Coast Swing begins.

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