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July 14 2013

9:30 PM

Johnson's title hopes sink on 18

Zach Johnson reacts after his birdie chip on the first playoff hole rattled off the flagstick on Sunday.
(Cohen/Getty Images)

By Craig DeVrieze, Special to PGATOUR.COM

SILVIS, Ill. – Zach Johnson’s 13th trip to the 18th tee at TPC Deere Run in the past two years turned out to be very unlucky.

Blocked behind a mighty oak tree on the fifth playoff hole of the 2013 John Deere Classic, Johnson attempted to punch-roll a 9-iron onto a putting surface he has seen plenty of times. He wound up in the water instead, as his approach ricocheted off a tree and landed in the hazard. His title hopes were gone. 

The 18th also cost Johnson a win in regulation, when he said his feet sunk deeper than he would have liked in a fairway bunker and he fanned an approach to the right to set up a bogey.

For the record, that’s the very same fairway bunker from which the John Deere Classic board member from nearby Cedar Rapids hit a highlight reel shot to the win his self-named “fifth major” last year.

That winning 2012 shot, by the way, came on his second hole of sudden death vs. Troy Matteson, both played at the par-4 finishing hole.

“Yeah,” Johnson said, some sense of humor still slightly intact. “I don’t need to see that hole many more times.”

He will see it again, of course. And again. The John Deere will be a staple on the 37-year-old nine-time PGA TOUR winner’s schedule for some time, he indicated.

“I love this place, as you all know, and I am just appreciative to be able to play and represent this tournament,” he said.

Johnson said he might replay a missed opportunity or two from his closing round of 68 while on the charter to the Open Championship Sunday night. But he also said he will be ready for Muirfield and the year’s third major championship when the jet lands in Scotland.

“I feel like this is my profession and one thing you have to be is resilient,” he said. “I’ll get over it pretty quick. I’ll keep the mindset that I am playing well and ride it out. I’ll be fine.”

David Hearn will take the same attitude from his own missed opportunities to claim his first PGA TOUR win. The 34-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, next will tee it up in his national championship, the RBC Canadian Open, in two weeks.

“I’m obviously happy with where my game is at going into that,” he said following his second top-10 finish of the year. “So I’ll be happy to compete again.”

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