FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-16 S Stricker (US) -14 L Donald (Eng) -13 D Johnson (US), JB Holmes (US)Selected others: -3 J Rose (Eng) -2 P Mickelson (US) -1 B Davis (Eng)
Steve Stricker's win sees him claim the world number two spot
Steve Stricker held off England's Luke Donald to win the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles by two strokes.
Donald fired a 66 but Stricker's 70 was enough for a 16-under-par 268 winning total as he deposed fellow American Phil Mickelson as the world number two.
Dustin Johnson and JB Holmes shared third place on 271, with Mickelson 14 shots behind leader Stricker, who had started the round six shots ahead.
"At least I gave him a run for his money," Donald said of his late surge.
Stricker had put himself in a great position to claim his eighth US PGA Tour victory with 67, 65 and 66 in his previous rounds.
But despite his commanding lead the last 18 holes proved a tense affair for the American.
"I aged a lot out there. It was a grind from the get-go," said the 42-year-old, who missed a five-foot birdie putt on the easy opening hole and led by only two shots after five holes.
Donald, who fired six birdies in his final round, had all the momentum on the front nine until missing consecutive putts from inside 10 feet.
A birdie on the 17th again saw him trim the lead to two, but that was as close as he would get.
The 31-year-old from Hertfordshire, though, was understandably pleased with his effort.
"I felt like I played nicely," he said. "I hit a lot of quality shots, felt very much in control and I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, gave myself a lot of good looks at birdies.
"If I got really hot with the putter, I could have maybe caught Steve. He played nicely coming down the stretch, and I think he was a deserved winner."
Stricker has been steadily rebuilding his career since losing his PGA Tour card in 2004.
Last year he won three American PGA Tour titles and his sparkling form has continued into 2010 - tying for 10th in the season-opening SBS Championship and coming third in the Sony Open.
"If you look at his consistency and how much he's won, then I think it's deserved," Donald said of Stricker's new ranking.
"It's a great testament to his will. I can't remember what he got to in the world rankings, 300 or 400 or something.
"I think Steve is the nicest guy in the world, too, so it couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
Mickelson, trying to become the first player to win at Riviera three years in a row, closed with a two-over 73 for 282 - tied for 45th.
Donald's compatriots Justin Rose and Brian Davis were 13 and 15 shots off the lead respectively.
Rose ended the tournament with a 72 while Davis could not build on his third round 68 as he finished with a 73.