A Colonial Assault
One thing that Zach Johnson has proven is that he knows how to take apart a golf course. It was something Ben Hogan was great at as well so it seems appropriate that Johnson would use his talents to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Yes, he is still four wins behind the total Hogan captured at Colonial but if Johnson weekend play (64-64) is any indication, there might be a few more red plaid jackets in his future.
Of course, after an opening round of 80 at the Valero Texas Open a few weeks back (where he was the 2-time defending champion) Johnson looked far from Hogan-like.
The 34 year-old Drake University graduate, who now stretches his PGA Tour winning streak to four straight years (matching Phil Mickelson), actually says that shocking score in San Antonio helped him to the victory on Sunday. Calling it “probably one of the better things that could have happened to me,” he went on to shoot miss the cut which forced him to re-evaluate where he was at with his game – especially from a mental perspective. “I came into this week in good spirits. No pressure, nothing to lose sort of spirit and fortunately it went my way.”
Fortune had little to do with it. Skill certainly did.
You don’t shoot 259 (65-66-64-64) at Colonial Country Club without knowing how to golf your ball. It’s a new scoring record at the tournament by two shots and also a personal four-round best for Johnson on the PGA Tour. His lengthy birdie putts on holes 10, 12, 13, 15, and 17 on the back nine pushed him out of a crowded pack of golfers and ultimately launched him past his nearest rival, Brian Davis, by a three strokes. “The putter just got hot,” said Johnson who was one stroke back to start the day. Four of his seven PGA Tour victories have been of the come-from behind variety.
Despite this being his first top-ten of the year Johnson says he feels he is a stronger golfer this season. “I feel like I'm a better player now than I was last year. A better player now than I was certainly two or three years ago, whatever.
I was trying to force things for a period there. I was too concerned about Sunday on Thursday just because I felt my game was in good condition. I felt like I should be able to contend and win, and rather than letting it happen. I'm certainly okay with any outcome, missed the cut, make the cut, Top 10 win what have you, but I just wasn't putting that into play and I think, you know, certainly with some help from my sports psychologist Dr. Mo Pickens, just reaffirming that I'm doing the right things and my coaches and my trainers reaffirm me that I'm doing the right things, and I haven't deviated.
My foundation and my system remains the same. Obviously it works sometimes,” added the new champ.
Also putting on an impressive showing this week was 2010 United States Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin. In his 27th appearance at Colonial the two-time champion (1985, 1996) shot 15 under par to tie for seventh place. It was the eighth top ten finish of his career at Colonial. Ben Hogan holds the record with 15 top tens (5 victories).
This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)