Johnson overcame early jitters and protected his third-round lead with a 4-under 68 on the final day at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia to win his first green jacket and the $2.07 million prize for finishing first. It marked his first major win since the 2016 U.S. Open.
Johnson, the top-ranked golfer in the world, finished at 20-under 268 to break the 72-hole scoring record at the Masters. The previous mark was 18-under par, set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Johnson’s five-shot victory was the largest at the Masters since Woods’ 12-stroke win in 1997. Johnson also became the first No. 1 player in the world to win the Masters since Woods in 2002.
“This is a dream come true,” an emotional Johnson said after the win. “As a kid, I always dreamed about being a Masters champion. It’s just incredible. … I’ve put in a lot of hard work and I’ve got a great team.”
The 36-year-old Johnson, who hails originally from Columbia, S.C., had his four-shot lead reduced to one through five holes in the final round. He opened with a birdie on hole No. 3, but bogeyed his next two holes as the field inched closer to him.
But the red-hot Johnson, who won the Tour Championship and The Northern Trust earlier this year, responded with two birdies before the turn and added three more on the back nine to pull away from runner-ups Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im.
Smith and Im both closed with 69s for a share of second at 15-under par. Smith was the first player in Masters history to post all four rounds in the 60s.
Defending champion Tiger Woods was 4-over par in the final round to finish in a tie for 38th at 1-under 287. He carded five birdies over his last six holes to salvage the 76.
“That’s part of our sport,” Woods said. “This sport is awfully lonely sometimes. You have to fight it. No one is going to bring you off the mound or call in a sub. You have to fight through it. That’s what makes this game so unique and so difficult mentally.
“We’ve all been there, unfortunately. I’ve been there and you just have to figure out the next shot, and I was able to do that coming home.”
This year’s Masters, which was postponed from its traditional April start because of the coronavirus pandemic, was held without patrons for the first time. Johnson still received a warm reception walking up the 18th from past champions, along with club members and their loved ones.
“I like having them here. They bring excitement, especially when they’re cheering for you,” Johnson said about having fans in attendance. “They can pull you along. I miss them and hopefully we get to see them in April.”