Golf: Zach Johnson

Star power added to fields for Nelson, Colonial

April, 24, 2013
Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner -- all ranked in the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings -- will be in the field for both the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Kuchar, ranked No. 10, won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this season.

Oosthuizen, ranked No. 7 in the world, finished tied for 10th in the Shell Houston Open -- his best finish this season -- and lost in a playoff at the 2012 Masters.

Schwartzel (No. 15), the 2011 Masters champion, will be making his Metroplex debut for both events.

Keegan Bradley (No. 13), the 2011 Nelson champion, and Martin Kaymer (No. 33), the 2010 PGA Championship winner, also will be teeing it up at TPC Las Colinas. The Nelson field currently includes 12 of the top 50 players in the official world golf rankings. The field will not be final until Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. The 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship will be played May 13-19 at TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving.

The Colonial field also will be highlighted by Rickie Fowler (No. 29) and defending champion Zach Johnson (No. 30). The field currently includes nine of the top 30 in the world. The field will not be final until Friday, May 17. The 2013 Crowne Plaza at Colonial will be played May 23-26 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

Johnson, Dufner play leapfrog in final stretch

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner took turns exchanging two- and three-shot swings on the final 10 holes of a wild final round at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on Sunday.

The multi-shot swings happened on five holes, two to the benefit of Dufner and three to the advantage of Johnson, who won his second Crowne Plaza title.

Here’s a look at the swing holes:

No. 9: Dufner double bogey 6 (-14); Johnson par 4 (-14)

Dufner’s approach shot from the rough didn’t carry far enough and spun back into the water, leading to a double bogey. Said Dufner: “I had 108 yards into the wind. I though I was going to get a jumper out of that first cut. I felt like I could get a sand wedge into the middle of the green and get at least get 110, 115 yards out of it. It just didn’t come out the way I wanted and that’s a pretty big turning point.’’

No. 11: Dufner bogey 6 (-13); Johnson birdie 4 (-15)

Dufner’s approach from 106 yards on the par-5 found the greenside bunker. He failed to get his bunker shot close and two-putted for bogey. Johnson converted a 19-foot birdie putt.

No. 12: Dufner birdie 3 (-14); Johnson bogey 5 (-14)

Johnson hit the lip of a fairway bunker and left his ball in the trap, leading to a bogey. Dufner converted his biride putt set up by an approach to seven feet.

Said Johnson: “Damon [caddie] said hit sand wedge and wedge it out. I hit 8-iron. Then I hit 8-iron again. I had four or five more yards of room to cover the second one. That was a good five, I guess. And Dufner made a phenomenal birdie there. That was a real changer after the previous hole.''

Said Dufner: “I knew he was going to have a hard time making par from there, maybe even possibly bringing double bogey into play. That was one of the few times when I was in the first cut and that proved helpful. I was able to hit a nice shot and put a little bit of pressure on him.’’

No. 15: Dufner triple bogey 7 (-11), Johnson par 4 (-15)

Johnson made a routine par, hitting the green in regulation and two-putting. Dufner’s approach long and left found a water hazard and he needed two chips to find the putting surface after a penalty.

Said Dufner: “He made a great birdie on 14. That made me push the envelope a little bit there. I hit a 3-wood off the tee. The fairways were chasing a little bit more today. I’ve been underneath that bunker with a 3-wood, but today, just rolled in it. I had 142 yards with wind in and off the right. I hit a 9-iron probably a little further left than I was looking. Just pitched it on the back and it barely trickled over in the water and you are pretty much dead back there. It turned out to be a seven and the difference in the tournament.’’

Said Johnson: “He didn’t hit a good shot there. But he got a bad break. You don’t want to see that.’’

No. 18: Dufner par 4 (-11), Johnson double bogey 6 (-12)

Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for failure to replace his ball after moving his mark. Happily for Johnson, his lead was large enough to absorb the penalty.

Said Johnson: “I’ve never done that before. Maybe I was caught up in the moment a little too much. I don’t know what would have happened if I had missed. I got lucky because they told me before I signed my scorecard.’’

Said Dufner: “In that moment, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking about him moving his coin back. I didn’t even realize he hadn’t moved his coin until I got in the scorer trailer and they informed me that he hadn’t.’’

Zach Johnson incurs penalty on final green

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- A confusing ending to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial did not change the winner, only his margin of victory.

Zach Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty on the final hole for a failure to replace his ball in the proper place on No. 18. He was two feet away from the cup when he marked his ball and moved the mark to get it out of the line of playing partner Jason Dufner.

Johnson failed to move the mark back before tapping in his putt. He was thus in violation of Rule 20-7.

Happily for Johnson, he could afford the penalty. Instead of a par, he was credited with a double bogey six, but at 12-under, still finished one shot ahead of runner-up Jason Dufner (11-under).

Momentum swings to Zach Johnson

May, 27, 2012
FORTH WORTH, Texas -- Zach Johnson tightened his tenuous grip on the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial lead with a birdie on No. 15 while Jason Dufner found the drink once again and couldn't recover.

A fourth multiple-shot swing in the last seven holes now has Johnson up four shots with three holes to play. If that seems safe, re-read the part about four multiple-shot swings in this crazy final round.

Dufner found the water after his tee shot landed in a fairway bunker. Out of the water, he overshot the green and had to chip back on. Then his short putt to save a double-bogey somehow went awry and Dufner's chances of back-to-back victories might have come to an inglorious end.

Dufner is now plus-four on the day. Johnson is just minus-1 but now has the things under control as he closes in on his second Colonial championship in three years.

2-shot swing on 11 puts Zach Johnson up 2

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- No. 9 isn't the only hole that might sink Jason Dufner's chances of securing the DFW double. He bogeyed No. 11 after teeing off into the rough and then coming down in a bunker.

Meanwhile, Zach Johnson, who took a brief lead after No. 2 and then fell behind by two strokes after No. 8, suddenly finds himself in the lead at minus-15 and two strokes ahead of the faltering Dufner, who is plus-2 in today's final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Johnson birdied No. 11 with a beautiful putt of near 19 feet.

While Dufner is looking to become the first since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win back-to-back golf tournaments on the PGA Tour, Johnson is seeking his second Colonial plaid jacket in three years.

Will pivotal hole No. 9 decide champ?

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- A double bogey for Jason Dufner, his first in the last 147 holes, has set up a dead heat with Zach Johnson heading to the back nine in this final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Dunfer's second shot on hole No. 9 landed on the green, but bounced back and splashed in the water. After dropping and getting within 18 feet, he narrowly missed the putt to drop back to minus-14.

Johnson made a nice save on the hole when his second shot, with his left foot on the edge of the bunker and choking down on his club, got onto the green. With a chance for a three-shot swing and the lead on hole No. 9, his 14-foot, six-inch putt lipped out, leaving Johnson to settle for the par and the tie.

For the round, Dufner is plus-1 and Johnson is even.

Still, no one else has made up much ground with Tommy Gainey and John Huh both at minus-7. Gainey is through 13 holes and Huh is through 10.

As for Johnson's course-record 21-under, that would appear to be safe for another year.

Back to a dead heat at Colonial

May, 27, 2012
UPDATE: With a second consecutive birdie, Jason Dufner pushed back into the lead at minus-16 after six holes, one stroke ahead of Zach Johnson, and right back where they started the final found.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- We're all tied up at minus-15 through five holes at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Zach Johnson took over the lead on No. 2 and Jason Dufner has come back to tie things up on No. 5 with an 8-foot putt for birdie while Johnson made par, his fourth consecutive par.

Johnson's course record of 21-under remains under attack.

This remains strictly a two-horse race. Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey has made a nice run, going 4-under through nine to get to minus-8. John Huh is minus-6 through six and Tom Gillis is minus-6 through five holes.

Zach Johnson strikes first, takes lead

May, 27, 2012
UPDATE: Through four holes, Zach Johnson continues to hold a one-stroke lead as he and Jason Dufner both made par on holes 3 and 4.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- 2010 Colonial champ Zach Johnson wants a second plaid jacket and he struck first in Sunday's final round, taking a one-stroke lead with a birdie on hole No. 2, while third-round leader Jason Dufner bogeyed the hole.

Both made par on hole No. 1.

Johnson tied Dufner twice in the third round, but never managed to take the lead.

Dufner is looking to become the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1946 to win the Dallas and Fort Worth PGA Tour events in the same season. He won the HP Byron Nelson Championship last week and has won two of his last three starts.

Johnson, meanwhile, set the course record of 21-under with his championship two years ago.

10 playoffs have been needed at Colonial

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- If 18 holes aren’t enough to settle what is expected to be a two-man battle between Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson for the Crowne Plaza Invitational title, a sudden death playoff will decide the champion.

In Colonial’s 63-year history, 10 titles have been decided by playoffs. The last playoff was in 2009 when a Steve Stricker birdie on the second playoff hole defeated Tim Clark. Steve Marino exited what began as a three-man playoff after the first hole.

A playoff in 2007 also involved three players. Rory Sabbatini with a birdie defeated Jim Furyk and Bernhard Langer on the first extra hole.

The first two Colonial playoffs used an 18-hole format Monday -- 1959 (Ben Hogan over Fred Hawkins) and 1962 (Arnold Palmer over Johnny Pott).

The playoff format switched to sudden death for the third playoff in 1983 when Jim Colbert took down Fuzzy Zoeller. It required six holes, making it the longest sudden death playoff at Colonial.

Other Colonial playoffs: 1984, Peter Jacobsen over Payne Stewart; 1986, Dan Pohl over Payne Stewart; 1992 Bruce Lietzke over Corey Pavin; 1994, Nick Price over Scott Simpson; 2006, Tim Herron over Richard S. Johnson.

W2W4: Colonial Round 4

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Welcome to the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. With leader Jason Dufner bearing down on the DFW double and Zach Johnson looking to make it two plaid jackets in three years.

Here's some key things to watch:

* Dufner heads into the final round at minus-15 and in a decent position to tie or even break with a truly great round Johnson's course-record of 21-under he set in winning the event in 2010. Dufner and Johnson, playing partners Saturday, will again be paired with Johnson just one shot back. They are scheduled to tee off at 12:55 p.m.

* As for the FedExCup points standings, Hunter Mahan is second overall and Matt Kuchar is fourth. Mahan, who is from Colleyville, posted the only bogey-free round Saturday. Heading into today's final round, both golfers are tied for 16th at 2-under. Mahan and Kuchar will paired together and tee off at 11:25.

* If you're an early bird and want to see some golf before the crowds come out in force for the afternoon rounds, you can catch pairs teeing off as early as 7:35 a.m. Some notable tee times include Fort Worth's Rory Sabbatini (8:15), Brandt Jobe of Westlake (9:00), Martin Flores of Mansfield (9:27) and Corey Pavin of Dallas (11:35).

* Rookie Kelly Kraft, who turned pro after the Masters, is having a nice run at Colonial. Kraft, from Denton, is tied for seventh at minus-4 as he's looking at collecting his first PGA Tour payday -- and it could be a sizable one. He tees off with Jonas Bilxt at 12:25 p.m.

* Get your final opportunity to catch the always fun to watch John Daly, who made the cut Friday for only the second time at Colonial. He shot even Saturday and is minus-1 for the tournament. He gets started at 10:39 a.m. with Brendon de Jonge.

* Also of note is 23-year-old Rickie Fowler, who had an up and down day on Saturday as did just about everybody outside of the two leaders. Fowler, tied for seventh at minus-4, will likely be dressed in his all orange attire as a tribute to his alma mater Oklahoma State. He tees off with Ryan Moore at 12:05 p.m.

* As a friendly reminder, bring lots of sunscreen. It's hot out here and temperatures for today are expected to top out at about 92 degrees just as the golfers are hitting the final stretch.

Zach Johnson's 65 sets up Sunday showdown

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Zach Johnson is a former Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial winner.

Jason Dufner is coming off a win just last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Dufner (15-under) holds a one-shot advantage over Johnson (14-under) going into Sunday’s final round.

Johnson was asked following a third-round head-to-head duel with Dufner if his winning experience at Colonial Country Club would give him an edge in Sunday’s final round.

“I don’t know,’’ said Johnson. “I’m going to say no because he’s winning a lot right now. He’s playing really good and he knows where his golf ball is going.’’

Johnson actually cut the Dufner lead in half on Saturday. The deficit was two when the day started.

“Jason hit the ball a lot better today than me,’’ Johnson said. “My short game carried me. But I have time to go to the range and get things figured out. I hit the ball great on Thursday, OK yesterday and I’m excited about tomorrow.’’

Johnson took only eight putts in a front-nine 31 on Saturday. He chipped in for birdie on the second hole and had one putt on the other eight greens before the turn. Only two players in the history of the PGA Tour have had fewer putts over the course of nine holes: Stan Utley (six) in in the 2002 Air Canada Championship and Bill Nary (seven) at the 1952 El Paso Open.

Johnson, who won here in 2010, made six birdies and only one bogey in the hot afternoon sun. He began the day trailing Dufner by two shots. He certainly knows his way around Colonial. His 65 on Saturday was his 15th straight round in the 60s, a streak that began in 2009.

“It was fun out there,’’ Johnson said. “We sort of fed off each other.’’

Jason Dufner holds onto 1-shot lead

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jason Dufner had a three-shot lead with five holes to go, but he was unable to pad it and instead saw Zach Johnson, the 2010 champ and course record-holder, close the gap to one stroke at the end of Saturday's third round at Colonial.

Johnson had an opportunity to tie on the 18th, but his birdie putt rode a rail on the left side of the cup and came to a halt inches away.

The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is a two-horse race to be decided during Sunday's final round between Dufner (15-under), last week's Byron Nelson champ who is trying to become the first player since Ben Hogan in 1946 to win the DFW double in the same season, and Johnson (14-under).

Johnson fired a 31 on the front nine and twice tied tied Dufner in the first 10 holes. But Dufner quickly birdied to regain the lead each time and then used three consecutive birdies to start the back nine to get to 16-under and take a three-stroke lead.

But Dufner couldn't capitalize on No. 14 after Johnson bogeyed to fall to 12-under. Dufner, with a chance to take a four-stroke lead, missed a short putt and settled for the bogey. He then bogeyed No. 16 to make it a one-stroke tournament as Johnson birdied No. 13 and No. 17.

It will take a heck of a day for anyone else to make a run at the plaid jacket. Tom Gillis is eight shots back of Dufner at 7-under, Bo Van Pelt is at 6-under and John Huh and Ryan Palmer are 5-under after another very warm, humid and windy day at Colonial.

Jason Dufner has 3-shot lead with 5 to play

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jason Dufner birdied holes 10, 11 and 12 to turn a knotted tournament at the turn into a three-shot lead Saturday in the third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Dufner had a golden chance to extend his lead to four strokes after Zach Johnson, who twice tied Dufner for the lead in the first 10 holes of today's round, bogeyed No. 14. But Dufner pushed his short putt on 14 and settled for his first bogey since the opening round.

For Johnson, the hole was the first time he 3-putted the entire tournament. In fact, Johnson 1-putted the first nine holes Saturday, needing just eight putts in going 4-under on the front nine. However, he's plus-1 on the back 9 heading to No. 15.

No one else is really making a move to get into contention. Tom Gillis and Bo Van Pelt are both 7-under and John Huh is 6-under.

Leaders tied, trading jabs at the turn

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson haven't landed any haymakers in Saturday's third round, but the two golfers are tied atop the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial leaderboard at minus-13 as they go toe-to-toe as they make the turn.

Dufner, who held a two-shot cushion entering today's round, lost the lead on No. 5, took it back briefly with a birdie on No. 7 and lost it again on No. 9 as he made par and Johnson birdied.

Johnson, the 2012 Colonial champ and holder of the course record (21-under), is 4-under for the day while Dufner, last week's champ at the Byron Nelson, is 2-under. Johnson needed just eight putts to get through the first nine holes.

Another big mover so far today is John Huh. He entered the day at 4-under and is now 8-under as he goes to work at No. 12 after four consecutive pars. Bo Van Pelt is also at 8-under but is just 1-under for the day through nine.

Is Zach Johnson's course record in jeopardy?

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- In 2010, Zach Johnson came out of a 90-minute lightning delay and thundered to a 21-under 259 to break the 72-hole scoring record at Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial by two strokes.

Johnson and Jason Dufner, who are tied at 12-under through five holes on Saturday, are both in contention to make a run at the mark.

In 2010, almost no wind to speak of throughout the tournament served up plenty low scores. Brian Davis shot 262 and Ben Crane and Jeff Overton each shot 263. Scott Verplank and Bryce Molder each shot 264, giving 2010 six of the best 11 four-day totals in Colonial history.

This time around, players have had to deal with steady 20-mph winds and gusts better than 30 mph. Winds have seemed to die down some Saturday and the forecast for Sunday calls for lighter winds, as well.

Among players that have appeared in six to 10 Colonial tournaments, no one has navigated the track better than Johnson, who is working on 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s entering Saturday's third round. Johnson's average score in his previous six stops at Colonial is 67.79.

And nobody is playing better overall golf than Dufner, who has won two of his last three Tour starts, including last week's one-stroke win at the HP Byron Nelson.

Jim Furyk, after his round on Friday, suggested that if the fairways remain lush and the greens stay "soft and receptive," he would expect to see low scores.