With a birdie from the bunker on the 18th hole Sunday, Johnson became the first player in 20 years to win back-to-back Pebble Beach National Pro-Am titles, closing with 2-over-par 74 for a one-shot victory over David Duval and J.B. Holmes.
It certainly wasn't as easy as last year, when Johnson was declared the winner after 54 holes because of rain.
"All you can ask for is a chance to win on the last hole," Johnson said.
On a day of stunning vistas with enough wind that only seven players broke 70, Johnson posted the highest final round by a Pebble Beach champion since Johnny Miller closed with 74 in 1994. But when Johnson stepped onto the tee at the famous par-5 18th that runs along the Pacific Ocean, he knew a birdie would make up for everything.
"It's such a gorgeous hole," Johnson said. "If you miss it a little left, it's not so pretty."
He hammered the tee shot into the ocean breeze and beyond the small pine trees, put his approach into a simple lie in the front bunker and blasted out to just over 3 feet. Johnson lightly pumped his fist when he made the putt.
The 25-year-old Johnson is the first player since Tiger Woods to come out of college and win in each of his first three years on the PGA Tour.
His birdie ended the hopes of Duval, who last won at the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour at the end of the 2001 season and has fallen so far that he is playing this year on sponsors' exemptions. He closed with 69, the first time since the 2001 Buick Challenge that he shot in the 60s for an entire tournament.
"I certainly didn't think 69 would have given me a chance to the win the tournament," Duval said.
The real heartache, however, belonged to Paul Goydos, who had a one-shot lead with five holes to play until he wound up on the wrong side of the par-5 14th green and took a quadruple-bogey 9 to end his chances.