Zach Johnson Continues Climb to Elite Status
It's time to give Zach Johnson his due. The diminutive Iowan is on his way to building a Hall of Fame resume that added another entry yesterday with his win in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Johnson fended off a strong field of 2013 champions (although Tiger and Phil were conspicuous in their absence) with a stellar final-round 66 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua. Putting the lie to the notion that the sprawling layout is best suited for bombers, the short-hitting Johnson "picked it apart" (his words) in getting to 19-under despite a driving average of 267.1 that ranked 23rd in the field.
Here are some statistical highlights of Johnson's weekend in Paradise:
11 As he starts his 11th season on the PGA Tour, Johnson now has 11 career victories. Since his rookie season of 2004, only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have more Tour wins.
8 Of Johnson's 11 wins, eight have been of the come-from-behind variety. Johnson started the day two strokes behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson.
3 Johnson won for the third time in his last six starts, adding the Hyundai to his wins at the BMW and at the unofficial Northwestern Mutual World Challenge late in 2013.
7 Johnson moves up to a career-high seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking. He's also seventh in FedExCup points on the young season.
1932 Runner-up Jordan Spieth, who finished a stroke back, was trying to become the youngest player with two wins on the PGA Tour since Ralph Guldahl in 1932.
Dufnering in Paradise
Jason Dufner didn't win, finishing three shots behind Johnson at 15-under, but he did provide a final-round highlight, draining a 58-foot eagle putt in typically low-key style.