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July 14 2012

11:49 PM

Johnson ready for major chance

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Zach Johnson is seeking his first victory at this close-to-home event.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Zach Johnson held his ground while many were losing it on Saturday at the John Deere Classic. Johnson’s 5-under 66 matched leader Troy Matteson’s number and kept the eight-time PGA TOUR winner within four shots of the lead after 54 holes. “Today was good,” he said. “I mean, I think I hit it today as good as I have all week, if not better. Put myself in position to make a lot of birdies.” And a lot of birdies he did make -- seven to be exact -- as Johnson posted his 15th consecutive round in the 60s at TPC Deere Run. Starting four back on Sunday won’t change Johnson’s approach. With two top-three finishes in the last three years here, why would he want to change? “I'm not one that can overpower a golf course,” Johnson said. “(This position) can change the approach of guys that can overpower places. I really can't, so I have to play really solid boring golf. I like that.” The John Deere Classic has always had a special place in Zach Johnson’s heart. Raised less than 100 miles from the course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Johnson has played in the last 11 editions of this event, making it his most-played event on TOUR. He’s known to refer to the John Deere Classic as his “fifth major.” He’s done a little bit of everything in this event, from missing the cut while on the Web.com Tour to a runner-up finish in 2009 during Steve Stricker’s first victory run. Johnson even sits on the tournament’s board of directors. He’s still searching for that elusive victory, though. “It would be very special to win this week because of where I sit on the board and what this tournament's done for me in the past,” he said. “A lot of people said they want me to win and ‘you're going to win’ and that sort of thing. A lot of John Deere board members have really encouraged me and pushed me. I would assume they would be happy about it.”
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