by Jeff Skinner
Zach Johnson did his best Steve Stricker imitation to win the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. Johnson was walking to the eighteenth green with a two shot lead and maybe thinking he had a safe cushion over Troy Matteson. But the cheering and screaming from the seventeenth green had to tell him that something big had just happened. Mattesson had just rolled in a monster putt for eagle to jump into a 20 under tie with Johnson.
When Johnson couldn’t make a birdie on eighteen and Matteson parred the last hole off they went to a playoff. And that’s where it got ugly. Both players found the water on their approaches and could only manage to tie the hole with a pair of double bogeys. Johnson then channeled a bit of Stricker as he again landed his driver in the fairway bunker as they replayed eighteen.
Stricker had made an amazing shot from this bunker last year and then went on to birdie the hole to claim his third John Deere. Johnson’s shot wasn’t as difficult as he had a flat lie but the result was more spectacular. He had 193 yards to the hole and his iron shot hit the front of the green then rolled all the way back to the hole stopping inches from the cup. After Matteson couldn’t roll his in from forty feet Johnson had broken Stricker’s run here and claimed his second win of 2012 and his ninth career win.
Johnson has to be one of the least physically intimidating golfers on tour. His Bio says he’s five feet eleven inches and 160 pounds. He’ll never be accused of taking steroids and won’t win any weightlifting competitions, but this guy can play golf. So far this year he has two wins, two seconds and only one missed cut. He leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained Putting and is 19th in Driving Accuracy and is third on the Money List. I think he also leads the tour in grit. Oh yea, he is a dismal 158th in Driving Distance. Just goes to show you that there’s more than one way to win on the PGA Tour.