Sunday, May 17, 2009

Zach Johnson Edges James Driscoll to Snag Valero Texas Open

James Driscoll waited two hours to see if his stellar 62 in the final round of the Valero Texas Open would hold up. It didn't, quite. Instead Zach Johnson eked himself into a playoff with a pedestrian even par on a day when par was merely a suggestion. His twelve foot birdie putt on the first extra hole earned Johnson his second victory in this tournament in seven months. The event was moved from October to May resulting in the unusual fete. Johnson and Driscoll had finished at -15.

Everyman's man Paul Goydos had held a one stroke advantage, but coughed it up on the last two holes with consecutive bogeys. The deservedly popular Goydos flubbed a chip shot near the 18th green with what could only be described as a "duff". He shared 3rd place, at -14, with with a hard charging Bill Haas, who carded a 65 in the final round. Frederik Jacobson, Marc Leishman, and Justin Leonard faded over the last holes and settled into a tie for 5th place at 13 under. Full field final scores.

While Driscoll waited on the 18th tee for the just finished Johnson to arrive for the playoff, I wondered if the catbird seat was to have walked off the course mere minutes ago, or have the benefit of a long rest like Driscoll. I suppose the point was labeled moot when both players striped their drives down the 18th fairway, each landing within blanket distance from where they'd been in regulation. One good approach shot, Driscoll, and one very good approach shot, Johnson, set the stage for the final putt, proving once again that drivers rarely win tournaments, though they can lose them.

Zach will have a touch of sentimentality next year when the tournament moves to the TPC San Antonio. Repeat wins must have earned this place a soft spot on Johnson's schedule. Johnson's victory is also a reminder of the difference between two recent Masters winners, himself and Trevor Immelman.

This week the men travel upstate for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Adam Scott defends.

Til' next,

No comments:

Post a Comment