Six birdies on the back nine were not enough for Rory McIlroy to get close to Dustin Johnson, who won the WGC-Mexico Championship by five shots.
McIlroy did his best after making the turn one-over par, but though he made six birdies in seven holes before a bogey on the last, Johnson was every bit as good.
The American recorded five birdies in seven holes in a final-round 66 as he collected his 20th PGA Tour win and sixth World Golf Championship crown.
Things started well for McIlroy as he capitalised on an early bogey from Johnson to cut the gap further with a birdie on the second.
But dropped shots on the fourth and the sixth cost him momentum and by the time he rediscovered it, Johnson was matching him shot for shot.
The pair finished well clear of the rest of the pack, with McIlroy five shots ahead of a three-way share of third place, split between English duo Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, and Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Casey moved up 10 places on the leaderboard with a final round of 65, sparked by four birdies on the opening six holes.
Although McIlroy will be pleased his game in good shape as he looks forward to the rest of the season.
Round of the day belonged to Justin Thomas, who carded a nine-under 62, while Tiger Woods had three birdies in a closing round of 69.
Meanwhile Martin Trainer took victory in the Puerto Rico Open by three shots to claim his first PGA Tour victory.
The 27-year-old, making only his ninth start as a member of the Tour, had an up and down start to his round with three birdies and two bogeys in the first seven holes.
But the American finished strongly, carding four more birdies to sign for a 67.
Trainer had never previously finished higher than 28th in a PGA event.
Overnight leader Aaron Baddeley suffered three bogeys in the space of four holes on his way to a round of 72 as he slipped back into a four-way share of second place.