Zach Johnson finishes at career-best 8-under
Since Zach Johnson won the Masters in 2007, he had made just four of seven cuts in Augusta and never finished at par or better.
Even when he earned a green jacket, he finished at 1-over – his best score in 10 tries.
That all changed in the past four days – in the last 45 holes, specifically. Johnson finished at a career-best 8-under and tied for ninth.
“I knew it was a matter of time,” said Johnson, 39, a resident of St. Simons Island, Ga. “I’m comfortable with these greens. I’m comfortable with these reads. It’s one thing to see it. It’s one thing to understand the speed and what the grain takes it and where everything goes, but it’s another thing to execute it.
“This week, the last 45 holes, it was really, really good,” he said. “The confidence was there. The reads were there. I was starting it on line, even the ones that missed. I think the best putters out here hit really good putts that don’t go in. Fortunately, I was able to make some.”
That wasn’t the feeling early Friday, when he went 4-over on the front nine with a birdie, three bogeys and a double bogey. Johnson, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, turned that around with 4-under on the second nine with four birdies.
“You know the old clichés. You don’t give up and you don’t quit,” Johnson said about Friday’s round. “I had a lot of opportunities, and all you can create out here is opportunities.”
A 68 on Saturday – matching his best round at Augusta National in 2008 – was followed by another 68 on Sunday. He opened with a nine-footer for par at No. 1, birdied No. 2 with an eight-footer and posted an eagle at the par-5 No. 8.
Johnson said he’s never felt comfortable at that hole and didn’t know where his approach landed until he found it on the green, 23 feet from the pin.
“That’s a putt I’m just trying to get within a three-foot radius,” he said.
Three birdies and two bogeys on the second nine brought his tournament to a close. The 25th-ranked player in the world felt prepared for the Masters and saw the results.
“I really felt like my ball-striking was just a matter of being really simple with it because it’s been really consistent – driving the ball pretty straight and, for the most part, my irons were crisp,” Johnson said. “So it really came down to the short game, and my preparation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I thought was terrific. It didn’t quite show Thursday and Friday. It did on the back nine Friday, but my first 27 holes were very average at best.”
He said he and “his team” clung to the phrase “just wait for it because it’s going to come,” and he believes there’s better golf ahead.
“I know what I shot, but I think there’s more in there,” he said. “I just got to keep waiting for it, because patience and perseverance are what’s going to take me further.”
|Hole By Hole Scores|