May 30 2010
A strategic, position-type golf course like Colonial would seem to be right down Zach Johnson's alley.
That said, he's only had one top-10 in the Crowne Plaza Invitational. But that could change on Sunday as he starts the final round one stroke off the lead held by Bryce Molder and Brian Davis.
"I think it is a good golf course for me," Johnson agreed Saturday. "I think it does require more of a trajectory control and more of a straight shot, nothing that's overly powerful. We have seen all sorts of champions here in the past, so I don't know. A lot of guys are hitting irons off the tee, too.
"With these bent grass greens, and very hot humid conditions at times, the greens are very receptive. ... and they are soft and rolling well. The ... humidity has added moisture to the fairways, so they're not releasing a whole lot. There is minimal wind. All of that compounded adds to pretty low scoring conditions which is very evident."
Johnson is finding fairways and greens with regularity this week, too. He ranks first in greens in regulation (missing just seven in the first three rounds) and second in fairways hit (hitting all but nine). His 87 putts, though, leave him tied for 67th in that category.
Johnson has had two bogey-free rounds this week -- including Saturday's 64, and he's made a total of 17 birdies and just two bogeys. His mechanics are obviously spot-on so Johnson says he is working on just trying to let things happen.
"I'm getting the putter in my hands a lot," Johnson said. "It gets frustrating because you give yourself so many opportunities and you miss some. I made two bogeys all week and they were three-putts. One from like five feet. My putting is fine. My ball-striking is obviously good."
Johnson is looking for his third win in Texas. His last of six victories came in 2009 when he successfully defended his title at the Valero Texas Open. On the other hand, the two men he is chasing are looking for their first PGA TOUR wins, but Johnson isn't taking anyone lightly.
"I've been in contention a fair number of times," Johnson said. "... I'm going to certainly rely on some of those feelings and memories, whether or not it helps me more than someone that hasn't won I have no idea.
"Sometimes a guy that is fighting for his first win is pretty lethal. I don't know if it's that big of an advantage, but I certainly think looking at my previous wins I always remembered what I was doing on Sunday with the other ones. So if I have a chance, great."