Dustin Johnson victorious in 2020 Masters Tournament

Jude Papillion, Associate Sports Editor

Originally set to take place on Easter weekend, the 84th Masters Tournament was held from Nov. 12-15 at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Dustin Johnson won the tournament, winning his first Masters and his second major championship, the other being the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. Johnson won the Masters with the lowest score in the tournament’s history, shooting 20 under par, two strokes better than the previous record held by both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. Cameron Smith from Australia and Sungjae Im from South Korea tied for second place, finishing five strokes behind Johnson.

After waiting over 19 months for Tiger Woods to defend his 2019 Masters title, Mother Nature made golf fans wait another three hours due to inclement weather just 30 minutes after Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player began the tournament with the honorary tee shots. The delay caused the first round to carry over into Saturday. While Paul Casey held the first-round lead at sunset on Thursday after shooting 65, Johnson and Dylan Frittelli joined Casey atop the leaderboard after matching his score when the first round was completed on Friday morning. Justin Thomas and Im, with scores of 6-under, were both one shot behind the trio after round one. Defending champion Woods posted a bogey-free 4-under 68, the best opening round Woods has ever played at Augusta National. While Woods was not long, he was consistent, hitting 10 of 14 fairways and 15 greens in regulation. After his impressive first round, Woods said, “It was good all around. I drove it well, hit my irons well and putted well. There’s really nothing that, looking back on it, that I could have done a little bit better. Obviously I could have made a few more putts.”

Because play was suspended on Thursday, Friday was a marathon for some golfers such as Thomas who completed 26 holes, while those who were lucky enough to complete their first round on Thursday were only able to play about nine holes of their second round on Friday. Four players — Johnson, Thomas, Abraham Ancer and Smith — shared first place with a score of 9 under par when play was suspended in the second round due to darkness on Friday.

Saturday began with the remainder of the second round, with Jon Rahm joining Johnson, Thomas, Ancer and Smith atop the leaderboard at 9 under. The third round became even more of a shootout with a nine-way tie for first early in the round. However, Johnson took a commanding four-stroke lead after 54 holes. Johnson, ranked first in the World Golf Ranking, dominated the field, scoring a 7-under-par 65 in the third round. Im and Ancer, both making their Masters debut, shared second place at 12 under along with Smith after 54 holes. The third round was plagued with trouble for Rahm and Thomas. Rahm made a double bogey on the par-5 eighth and Thomas made a bogey on the par-5 15th, finishing the round with a 72 and 71 respectively.

Johnson has faced plenty of misfortune while competing in past major championships. Johnson was either tied or outright held the lead going into the final round of the 2010, 2015 and 2018 U.S. Opens despite failing to ever claim the title. Johnson also trailed by one stroke in the 2011 British Open but shot a 2-over par 74, finishing three strokes off the lead. In 2017, Johnson was favored to win the Masters, but withdrew from the tournament just hours before the first round after he fell down a staircase in his Augusta rental home the day before. Johnson also lost this year’s PGA Championship by two strokes after leading through three rounds.

The golf gods were with Johnson in the final round of the 2020 Masters as he shot a 4-under-par 68, winning the tournament with a score of 268 or 20 under par. Im and Smith finished the tournament in second place at 15 under, while Thomas finished in fourth place at 12 under. Im’s 15 under par is the lowest score ever in a Masters debut. After shooting 75 and finishing tied for 77th place in round one, Rory McIlroy played remarkable golf to finish the tournament tied for fifth with Frittelli at 11-under. Andy Ogletree finished the tournament as the low amateur shooting a 2-under 286.

Bryson DeChambeau entered this year’s tournament as the favorite after winning the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September primarily due to his driving distance. While DeChambeau led the field in average driving distance at 324.4 yards, he finished the tournament with a 2-under 286 — 18 shots behind Johnson and two strokes behind 63-year-old Bernhard Langer, the oldest player to ever make the cut at the Masters. “I’m looking at it as a par 67 for me because I can reach all the par 5s in two, no problem,” DeChambeau said prior to the tournament. “If the conditions stay the way they are, that’s what I feel like par is for me. That’s not me being big-headed. I can hit it as far as I want to. ”

Johnson’s five-shot victory is the largest at the Masters since Woods won by 12 strokes in 1997. Few were there to see it, however. Typically, there are about 40,000 patrons in attendance at every round of the Masters, but only a very small number of club members, staff, media and players’ guests were in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eliminating the famous roars heard from the galleries after players make awe-inspiring shots.

The 85th Masters Tournament will be held April 8-11, 2021.

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