2024 LIV Golf Las Vegas: Dustin Johnson emerges from crowded leaderboard to win third LIV title
Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau entered the final day of LIV Golf Las Vegas in a lock step on the leaderboard with world No. 3 Jon Rahm not far behind. The star-studded final trio took to the course at Las Vegas Country Club, and the three major champions battled the elements, their golf swings and each other with Johnson winning at 12 under as largely due to a charge late in the back nine.
Johnson’s total of 12 was just enough to edge Peter Uihlein in the final group as well as defending league champion Talor Gooch by one stroke. Both Uihlein and Gooch had been Johnson’s teammates on his 4 Aces team but have been moved on to RangeGoats and Smash, respectively. Johnson’s victory in Las Vegas marks his third at LIV Golf and the first that did not require a playoff.
“It’s a good win, and obviously it was tough today,” Johnson said. I knew it was going to be tough, obviously, with the conditions. But there were a lot of very good players around the helm. I knew I had to play well if I wanted to win… I started a little rocky. I was hitting really good shots, they just ended up in poor spots. I was hitting the shots I wanted, I just wasn’t playing the wind right.”
The two-time major champion’s day began in dream fashion when a birdie on the par-5 1st pushed him past DeChambeau and took the lead all by himself. That was as easy as it would get for the former world No. 1 as warm conditions and cool temperatures continued, causing problems for most of the field.
Johnson closed out his front nine with a pair of bogeys over his final four holes and opened the door for others to walk through. DeChambeau was the first to try as he went to the back nine with the lead before a bad move and bad decisions led to a double bogey on No. 10.
Johnson’s struggles continued with another dropped shot on the 11th. Those mistakes from the last group coincided with runs from Uihlein, Jason Kokrak and Matthew Wolff. And once Rahm birdied 10 and Johnson recovered his shot a few holes later, they were six clear at the top of the leaderboard.
The Spaniard looked poised to enter the winner’s circle in his second LIV golf outing, but like LIV Golf Mayakoba, Rahm went down the home stretch. Kokrak and Wolff followed suit and cut the list of winners in half.
A clutch par from Uihlein on the 18th hole put the clubhouse pace at 11 under. That was matched moments later when Gooch’s eagle attempt on the par-5 1st, his final hole of the day, narrowly missed. Johnson stayed on the golf course and kept up the cool, general demeanor we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
Keeping up the birdies lead with one of his own on the par-5 15th, Johnson overtook the others with another on the par-3 17th. Once his iron shot from the rough on the final hole settled 20 feet from the pin, the 39-year-old knew it was the title.
Johnson may have finished atop the individual standings, but the team championship went to Brooks Koepka’s Smash. Following on from the performances of Gooch and Graeme McDowell in the final, Koepka’s side collect their second title in league history and their first of this young season. Johnson’s 4 Aces finished seven shots behind in second place, while Bubba Watson’s RangeGoats, led by Uihlein and Wolff, rounded out the podium.