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Zach Johnson gets significant victory at John Deere Classic

July 16, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Zach Johnson won a sudden-death playoff Sunday at the John Deere Classic, a tournament for which he serves on the board of directors.
Zach Johnson won a sudden-death playoff Sunday at the John Deere Classic,… (Charlie Neibergall / Associated…)

Zach Johnson lost sight of his ball after his bunker shot from 193 yards out during the second sudden-death playoff hole Sunday at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. But he liked what he heard.

“I liked that crescendo from the crowd,” Johnson said.

His ball bounced on the green, then ran up to less than a foot from the cup. An easy birdie putt later, Johnson had knocked off Troy Matteson, whose approach landed 43 feet away, for the tournament victory.

An earlier roar from the crowd wasn't such a positive sign for Johnson, who held a one-stroke lead over Matteson while playing the 18th hole. But Matteson drew even with a 60-footer for an eagle on the 17th hole, prompting an enthusiastic response from the spectators.

“I didn't know who the roar was for,” said Johnson, who two-putted for par then waited as Matteson did the same to force the playoff. Both players double-bogeyed the first playoff hole.

Though he downplayed the significance of a possible victory all week, Johnson, whose eight PGA Tour victories include the 2007 Masters, indicated afterward that a John Deere victory did have special meaning for him.

“It's one of the best results,” said Johnson, a member of the tournament's board of directors. “It just feels awesome. This tournament has meant so much to me and my family.  ... I don't really like making things a bigger deal than what they should be. It means a great deal now that I've done it.”

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