Johnson takes Canadian Open after quick start

Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament at Glen Abbey Golf Club. (Reuters pic)

OAKVILLE: World number one Dustin Johnson broke free from the leading pack with birdies on his opening two holes and stayed out front the rest of the way to capture the Canadian Open and his third PGA Tour title of the season on Sunday.

After two runners-up finishes, Johnson finally snatched the Canadian crown with a workmanlike final round of six-under 66 that left the big-hitting American three shots clear of Kim Whee and An Byeong-hun.

The South Koreans both birdied the final hole for matching 69s to share second on 20-under-par.

Keegan Bradley made a rousing final round rally, carding the round of the day with an error free eight-under 64 to finish alone in third a further shot back.

Coming off his first missed cut of the year last week at the British Open, Johnson rebounded in some style to clinch his 19th career title with a winning tally of 23-under 265.

Johnson becomes the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win three or more times in three consecutive years.

There was a logjam at the top of the leaderboard at the start of the final round with Johnson, An, Kim and Kevin Tway all sitting on 17 under and holding a four-shot advantage over the chasing pack.

Johnson’s experience provided the early edge as he wasted no time breaking free with birdies at one and two, while the three co-leaders, who were all chasing their first PGA Tour titles, picked up early bogeys.

With his challengers off to a shaky start Johnson calmly seized control, opening up a three-shot lead after just four holes.

But the American’s charge stalled as he struggled with his putter and had to settle for five consecutive pars before rolling in a 12-footer at the eighth.

As Johnson and An stepped onto the ninth tee, the horn sounded halting play due to severe weather in the area.

When play resumed following a nearly two hour delay, the gap tightened as Johnson recorded a par and An and Kim picked up birdies to cut American’s lead to two.

After Johnson took his only bogey of the day at the 12th, his lead was trimmed to a single shot but the 34-year-old was unshakeable, answering with a birdie at 13 to get back on track.