Zach starts 2014 with a bang
Zach Johnson produced the goods when it mattered the most to secure the $5.7 million Tournament of Champions title on Monday.
After throwing away a three-shot lead on Sunday with a 74, Johnson found his groove in the final round as he carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 66 to win by one shot from Jordan Spieth.
The 37-year-old shot the lowest round of the day along with Billy Horschel to finish at 19-under 273 and earn his 11th PGA Tour victory.
Starting the day two shots off the pace, 2007 Masters winner Johnson’s back nine proved to be crucial as he produced four birdies over five holes to ease away from his rivals.
“Today was a grind but I felt at ease,” the American said. “I was comfortable. Yesterday, I didn’t score that well.
“Today I just tried to stay unemotional and remain athletic.”
He added: “I hit some quality shots that helped and some quality putts that helped even more. What I have learned when I am in contention, and I haven’t come through, it is because I am not doing what I was doing to get in contention. So the key is to just keep doing what you are doing.”
Spieth also had a bogey-free round of 69 with two of his four birdies coming on the 17th and 18th holes, and he was delighted that he was able to challenge throughout the weekend at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
“I want to put myself in these positions because it was fun today,” he said. “It is fun to feel the pressure and put your name beside some of the best players in the world on the leaderboard.
“I take away a lot of positives. This is the first time I have slept on a 54-hole lead. My putter just didn’t hold up. It got a little cold on me.
“But it was a great experience feeling the nerves and battling.”
Kevin Streelman carded a final round of 67 to finish tied for third with Webb Simpson (70) while Jason Dufner was another shot back.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson, who was tied for the lead at the start of the day, fell away with a 73 to finish at 15 under along with Masters champion Adam Scott (69), Matt Kuchar (67) and Horschel.
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