Dustin Johnson is hoping to use his Saudi International triumph as a springboard for success in the build-up to the WGC-Mexico Championship.
The former world number one went into the final day of play tied for the lead with Li Haotong but looked in trouble when he found the water on the 16th.
However, Johnson made birdies on back-to-back holes immediately after to beat Li by two shots and claim his first European Tour win outside majors and World Golf Championships events.
Johnson heads to Pebble Beach next, the venue for this year’s U.S. Open. Last year he failed to complete victory at the Pro-Am, which he won in 2009 and 2010, despite heading into the final day tied for the lead with Ted Potter Jr.
The Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club – where Johnson triumphed in 2017 – follows before the 34-year-old will attempt to reclaim the WGC title at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
Johnson said: “It feels really good. Any time you can win a professional golf tournament, no matter where it is in the world, it’s a big win. I’m honoured to be the champion, and I’m very pleased with the win.
“I’m heading back to the [United] States and I’ve got three big weeks in a row. I’ve got Pebble, LA and Mexico coming up. Obviously the game is in good form and I’m heading into three really big weeks for me.
“To have a lot of confidence going into those three weeks is a good thing, and it’s three places that I’ve had a lot of success at and so I’m hoping to continue that going into next week and on for the rest of this year.”
Re-live Dustin Johnson’s winning final round in 3 minutes pic.twitter.com/CSDsvBD2P9
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) February 3, 2019
Johnson feels he has found greater consistency in his game, though he believes he can still get better.
“The things that I’ve been working on are working and I’ve still got a lot of room for improvement,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with where the game is at. I’ve got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing and I feel like I’m hitting a lot of really good golf shots. So misses are starting to get better, and I’m not making as many mistakes, even though I did on 16.
“I made one today that wasn’t very good. But for the most part, that was really about the only really bad shot I hit this week.
“I’m pleased with where the game’s at and to get a win here, it’s a big win, and gives me a lot of confidence going for the rest of the year.”
Li fell away on the back nine with dropped shots on the 10th, 13th and 14th and had no doubt the tournament had a deserved winner.
“It was a very good match, especially on the front nine, playing really good,” said Li.
“On the back nine, just a little bit off, and wasn’t my best over there today again. But I learned a lot and especially that last few holes was good for me. I think he deserved to win this event.”