Zach Johnson adds plaid jacket with Colonial win
FORT WORTH, Texas – Zach Johnson had just followed a bogey with a drive into the rough at the 15th hole when the horns sounded at the Colonial.
When play resumed after that 47-minute weather delay Sunday, Johnson hit his approach onto the green and curled in a 25-foot birdie putt. That put him back in the lead alone – this time to stay.
By the time play was suspended again a half-hour later, just after his 14-foot birdie at No. 17, Johnson was ready to add plaid to his championship jacket collection.
“The green one was humbling, probably a little bit more surreal,” said Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion. “This one is very humbling knowing the gentlemen who have donned this jacket.”
Johnson won at Hogan’s Alley with a tournament-record 21-under 259. His closing 6-under 64 put him three strokes ahead of third-round co-leader Brian Davis (68).
“Zach won the tournament, I didn’t lose it,” Davis said. “I proved myself today, that I stood in there and it took a (majors) champion to beat me.”
Jeff Overton and Ben Crane both shot 67 to finish tied for third at 17 under. Scott Verplank (65) and Bryce Molder (70), who led after the second and third rounds, were another shot back.
It is the seventh PGA Tour victory for Johnson and first since winning in San Antonio last May. His best finish his first 12 tournaments this season had been a tie for 12th at the Sony Open in Hawaii the second week of the season.
When Johnson made his birdie at the 381-yard 17th, giving him a two-stroke lead, a smile stretched across his face and he emphatically pumped his fist.
“As far as momentum and a big putt, that was a big one,” Johnson, said. “I figure if you get to 21, you have got a pretty good chance. … Quite frankly, the biggest one, I thought, was probably on 15.”
The real celebration – the presentation of the plaid jacket, trophy and $1.116 million check – had to wait.
There was another 46-minute delay because of lightning and threatening weather in the area before play was finally completed, with some light rain falling despite sunny skies.
Johnson made a closing par after the second delay.
Meanwhile, Davis’ 9-foot birdie attempt at No. 17 slid just past the cup – “I don’t know how it missed,” he said. Then came a closing drive into the rough, and the impossible attempt to hole his shot from there to force a playoff.
Davis was again contending for his first PGA Tour victory, six weeks after the 35-year-old Englishman called a two-stroke penalty on himself on the first hole of a playoff at Hilton Head.
“No doubt, there will be a few wins,” Davis said confidently.
At Colonial, Davis was 19 under with a two-stroke lead after a 51/2-foot putt at the seventh hole. But that was his last birdie of the day.
Johnson’s clinching shot at 17 was his fifth birdie on the back nine, though he gave back one of those with his only bogey over his last 21/2 rounds.
Three of those birdies were at least 22 feet in a four-hole stretch, the longest being the go-ahead putt at No. 15.
“Going into the back nine, my mindframe was I don’t care if I win this, I don’t care if I lose it, I’m content with whatever happens,” he said. “I’m going to go out fighting, I’m going to go out aggressive.”
Kenny Perry was 19 under in both of his Colonial victories, in 2003 and 2005. The next-lowest score before this week was 17 under by a trio of players last year when Steve Stricker won on the second playoff hole.
The Colonial score was the lowest on the PGA Tour for a four-round tournament since Geoff Ogilvy won the season-opening SBS Championship in Hawaii at 22-under 270.
At Hilton Head in April, Davis made a birdie on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff with Jim Furyk. Davis ticked a loose reed in a hazard during a backswing in the playoff and immediately called over a rules official to point out something that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. A television replay confirmed the violation.
Davis tied for 57th at New Orleans and missed the cut his last three tournaments.
“If you would have said at the start of the week after three missed cuts you are going to finish second, you would be delighted,” he said. “Obviously, I had a chance today, I couldn’t quite get over the hump.”
Johnson and Phil Mickelson are the only players who have PGA Tour wins in each of the last four seasons (2007-10).
Mickelson missed the cut at Colonial at 4 over when he could have been the No. 1 player in the world with a victory.
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