Watching Zach Johnson play alongside Dustin Johnson for the final two rounds of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the first thing that came to mind was the old Sam Snead saying “Drive for Show, Putt for Dough”. Of course in Zach’s case, a surgical short game doesn’t hurt either. One could even draw a comparison between Davey and Golaith on the methods these two players used two get around the massive Kapalua Plantation Golf Course.
With a one over par 74 on Sunday, Zach Johnson lulled the field to sleep Monday, and while the rest world was focused on the huge Dustin Johnson drives, and the noise 20 year-old Jordan Spieth was making, Zach went to work and won a golf tournament.
Zach Johnson fired a final round seven under par 66 on Monday to win the first event of 2014.
Speaking of Jordan Spieth, the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year didn’t play poorly, but couldn’t seem to get many putts to fall. Spieth made only two bogeys all week, but struggled on some of the largest and trickiest greens on the tour.
With the solo lead at times during the day, he was able to make some nice putts to save pars, and put birdies on the board at 17 and 18 to take second place in the years seventh points event. The youngster showed us that he can play this game at this level, and his 2013 showing was no fluke.
The other player I was impressed with on Monday was Kevin Streelman. The Tampa Bay Champion put on an impressive run down the stretch with a final round six under 67 to finish in a tie with Webb Simpson.
Streelman hung around all weekend, and got hot with the putter on Monday, posting seven birdies, and one bogey at the seventh hole. The 36 year-old Duke Alum has struggled throughout his career, but looks to have it figured out. I expect him to be a contender during the 2014 season.
Some other nice runs on Monday, included 2013 PGA Champ, Jason Dufner, 2013 New Orleans winner, Billy Horschel, and Masters Champ, Adam Scott. Dufner, and Scott flirted with the lead but both fell on hard time down the stretch.
Dufner picked up a double bogey at difficult 16th green, and a bogey at 18 took Scoot out of contention. Both will move on to Oahu and the Sony Open later this week.
Last but not least, TOC defending champ, Dustin Johnson took himself out of contention early in the final round. Bogeys at the two opening holes, and a final round 73 dropped him five strokes off the pace.
It was almost comical to watch. Dustin led the week in driving distance, and the difference between his tee shots and those of Zach’s were monumental at times, but the little guy went about his own business and put on a short game clinic the entire day.
Phil Mickelson has been long known as the wedge genius on tour, but I think Zach Johnson is a strong second. His ability to play every shot required on command is just phenomenal. And hey…the guy can putt!
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