2013 John Deere Classic: Zach Johnson Looks For Repeat at Home Course

Jun 20, 2013; Cromwell, CT, USA; Zach Johnson hits out of a bunker on the during the first round of the Travelers Championship at TPC at River Highlands. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a year since Zach Johnson hit a phenomenal sand shot on the second playoff hole to beat Troy Matteson at The John Deere Classic, and grab his second victory of the 2012 season. That was the last time the 2007 Masters Champion would hoist a victory trophy on a Sunday afternoon. TPC Deere Run is essentially a home game for the 37 year-old pro from Iowa City, Iowa .

Johnson ended a two-year run at The John Deere Classic for Steve Stricker last year, and sent him away with doubts about his putting stroke that carried into the Ryder Cup at Medinah. Stricker finished T 8, and has yet to find a win since the 2012 Tournament of Champions on Maui.

The shot that Johnson hit on the second playoff hole last year is in the top ten category of best shots hit in 2012. I know, I was watching the tournament, and would put it on the list. With birdies on three of the last six holes, Zach forced a playoff, and hit the perfect six-iron from a fairway bunker to gimme distance and picked up the win.

Johnson, who turned pro in 1998,  won twice in 2012, at The Crowne Plaza Colonial, and at The John Deere. He has not tasted victory this year, but came close again at Colonial with a third place finish. The remainder of the season has been dismal. He missed the cut at the US Open in Merion, and finished T 35 at the Masters.

Unfortunately, Zach Johnson is a one-trick pony. He hits a mild draw, and fares well on courses that favor it. He does not hit any kind of fade, and thus struggles on the majority of courses on the Tour. His draw helped win the Masters in 2007, and an occasional tournament now and then. He is currently 75th on the FedEx Cup standings, and could stand a repeat in 2013.

With most tour players starting to head to Europe for next week’s Open Championship, the field is less than stellar. The top ranked players in the field this year will include Louis Oosthuizen at number 10, and Keegan Bradley at 11. The 2010 Open Champion is in the states to play himself into the top 125 in Fed Ex points. He is currently on the outside, looking in for the playoffs that start as soon as the PGA Championship is concluded. Bradley is making his first appearance at TPC Deere Run.

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Topics: Golf, PGA, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson

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