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Last updated: January 07. 2014 12:25AM - 2104 Views
DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer



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KAPALUA, Hawaii — Zach Johnson started the new year the same way he ended the last one.


Johnson pulled away with three straight birdies on the back nine at Kapalua and closed with a 7-under 66 for a one-shot victory over Jordan Spieth in the Tournament of Champions on Monday.


Johnson didn’t need any heroics, like holing out from a drop zone on the last hole when he beat Tiger Woods in the World Challenge last month in California. This was mainly about chipping and putting, and Johnson is among the best.


He hit a wedge to 8 feet for birdie on the 14th to take the outright lead for the first time. Facing a dangerous shot up a steep slope to a green with a false front, Johnson caught it perfectly on the 15th for an easy birdie. And he hit wedge to 5 feet for a third straight birdie that gave him control.


Spieth, who had a one-shot lead going to the back nine, birdied his last two holes for a 69.


“I just picked it apart,” said Johnson, who finished at 19-under 273. “I didn’t deviate from anything I typically do on a golf course.”


Webb Simpson, tied with Spieth and defending champion Dustin Johnson to start the final round, never caught up and closed with a 70. He tied for third with Kevin Streelman, who had a 67.


Jason Dufner was four strokes back in fifth after a 69.


Dustin Johnson made three bogeys before making his first birdie. He shot 73 and tied for sixth.


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