Johnson prevails down the stretch in Saudi Arabia


Li Haotong and Dustin Johnson are tied for the lead on 16-under, five strokes clear of nearest challenger Tom Lewis.

"I got a lucky bounce, kicked it left and it went in the hole, which is very lucky, too".

However, Johnson then showed his class with back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 before Li bogeyed the next two holes to slip three behind with Lewis vaulting into second when he offset a bogey at the 11th with another birdie at the 12th.

But Johnson doubled his advantage with a clutch birdie at the penultimate hole, and he matched Li's four at the par-five last to post a winning score of 19 under par which secured his first victory in a regular European Tour event.

"It's a good start", he said.

"After a long offseason, I'm getting used to start playing again on the course, and I am especially putting very well", Li said.

The world No.27, the Masters champion in 2017, shot a round of one-over par 71, but is believed to have damaged a couple of greens at the Royal Greens Golf Club during that effort after slamming his putter in frustration.

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Amidst all the action, India's Gaganjeet Bhullar finally saw putts dropping and shot four-under 66 to get to four-under and Tied-27th, up 31 places from the cutline at T-58th.

The 38-year-old, victor of last week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on the PGA Tour, shot a two-over-par 72 and failed to make it to the weekend by two shots.

"I thought with the wind it's going to play quite easy". "But I learned a lot".

"Haotong is a good player".

Plant was on course for a 59 when he registered seven birdies in his opening nine holes to reach the turn in a magnificent 28, but two bogeys on the front nine derailed his chances of the monumental feat.

"It got me a European Tour event under my belt early, and I knew I had a month off after it. I've done a great job of it in the past, and I don't feel like it is a factor when I'm making my schedule that I shouldn't be able to play well in this environment".

Australian Scott Hend carded an impressive seven-under, featuring eight birdies, to sit four shots behind Johnson going into the final round.