- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2009

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) | Dustin Johnson walked out the door and into the rain Monday morning, still expecting to show up on the first tee with a four-shot lead to play the final round at Pebble Beach.

He won not with a big drive or a clutch putt but with a phone call.

“It was Michael Letzig, one of my buddies out here,” Johnson said. “I was walking out the door to go have breakfast. He called to congratulate me, and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”

Some 40 hours after hitting his last shot of the tournament, Johnson won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when rain washed out the final round for the second straight day.

Pebble Beach received nearly 1 1/2 inches of rain, enough to create a tiny river in one fairway and produce puddles on most of the greens. It was the first rain-shortened tournament on the PGA Tour in nearly three years and the first 54-hole event at Pebble Beach since the late Payne Stewart also hit the winning shot Saturday in 1999.

And it was historic for at least one reason.

“I’ve never won a tournament in tennis shoes,” Johnson said.

The victory was Johnson’s second in his past nine starts, and it puts him in the conversation with a growing cast of rising stars. The 24-year-old joins Anthony Kim as the only players under 25 with multiple PGA Tour victories.

He moved up to No. 45 in the world, putting him into the 64-man field at next week’s Match Play Championship. More importantly - at least for someone who grew up less than an hour from Augusta National - it earned Johnson a trip to the Masters.

He has had a few offers to play the course but each time declined.

“I just really wanted to be in the tournament before I went and played it,” he said.

Johnson finished at 15-under 201 and earned $1.098 million. The winning round came at Poppy Hills on Saturday, when Johnson overpowered the five par 5s with birdies on all of them - he had three eagle attempts - and shot a 67. That gave him a four-shot lead on Mike Weir, who would have been playing in the final group at Pebble for the second time in four years.

It took Johnson only 36 starts to record his second PGA Tour victory, compared with 42 tournaments for Kim and 87 for Camilo Villegas.

“Obviously, I’ve proved myself to be just as good as they are,” Johnson said. “Anthony is a great player. He’s a good friend of mine, and he’s done great things in the last two years. Just to be mentioned with them is an honor. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year and proving myself a little more.”

For all the dramatic scenery and rich history at Pebble Beach, this was an anticlimactic win for Johnson. He won at Turning Stone in October with birdies on the last two holes.

It was the sixth time in the past 50 years that rain led to a 54-hole tournament at Pebble Beach, and that doesn’t include 1996, when the tournament was canceled.

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