For most of four days, the fans that braved the cold temperatures and (at times) wild weather during the second edition of the PGA Tour's Turning Stone Resort Championship were waiting for someone, anyone, to take command.
Finally, in the last two holes on a sunny Sunday afternoon, a rookie named Dustin Johnson did just that, using power and clutch putting to beat playing partner Robert Allenby for his first-ever tour victory and a top prize of $1.08 million.
With birdies on the last two holes at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, Johnson broke out of a crowded pack of contenders. He finished with a three-under-par 69 and a total of 279, nine under par. one shot clear of Allenby, and two ahead of seven players that tied for third place at 281.
Charles Howell III, the 54-hole co-leader with Tag Ridings, shared third with Woody Austin, Ryuji Imada, Matthew Goggin, Steve Allan, Robert Garrigus and Davis Love III. Never able to get moving until birdies at 17 and 18, Love posted a 70 in his final round.
Johnson, an All-American at Coastal Carolina University and a member of the victorious 2007 U.S. Walker Cup team, only joined the PGA Tour in January, after tying for 14th place in the grueling PGA Tour Qualifying School finals last fall. He immediately earned a trio of top-15 finishes in the winter west coast swing, but then disappeared from any contention for the next six months.
Now, at the start of the Tour's "Fall Series", Johnson broke through, though he only led outright once -- after the 72nd hole, the only time that it matters.
In Thursday's chilly conditions, Johnson started three over par on his first five holes, yet rallied for an even-par 72, then just kept climbing the board. He got a 68 in the first group on Friday morning, enduring both weather delays (one due to a hailstorm) to move within four of 36-hole leader Jeff Overton.