Zach Johnson Dominant at Presidents Cup
By Garrett Johnston and Josh Christensen, Reporters
DUBLIN, Ohio — Cedar Rapids native Zach Johnson picked up exactly where he left off on Saturday at the 10th Presidents Cup with a dominant performance in his Sunday singles match against 25-year-old South African Branden Grace.
One day after holing a fairway shot in dramatic fashion on this major stage, and hitting a number of iron shots close, Johnson showed some of that same pinpoint accuracy on Sunday in dispatching of Grace.
Johnson’s 4 and 2 victory contributed one point to the U.S. Team, who won the Presidents Cup over the International team, 18.5-15.5.
The winning point came in Tiger Woods’ match against Richard Sterne, 1-up.
For the week, Johnson went 3-1. As a team with Jason Dufner during the first three days, Johnson went 2-1.
“(Sunday) was probably as solid as I’ve played all week,” Johnson said. “Fairways, a lot of greens.”
Johnson only missed one fairway in Sunday’s match, at the par-5 7th hole, which he ended up making birdie on anyway.
On a damp, rainy afternoon at Muirfield Village, Johnson hit 11 of 15 greens en route to his victory.
He only needed 15 of the course’s 18 holes to close out the young South African.
“A lot of opportunities,” Johnson said of his round. “Made a couple, missed a couple.
“Just never took the pressure off, which I think is key in match play.”
Grace produced an exceptional five wins last year while playing on the European and Sunshine Tours.
“I feel great with the victory because he’s a phenomenal player, and 25 years old,” Johnson said of Grace. “He’s going to be playing in multiple Presidents Cups.”
Johnson now has played in three Presidents Cup tournaments for the U.S. team, and he felt fortunate to complete his final team match on late Saturday evening, as four still had to come out early Sunday, and thus he was able to get at least some rest to begin Sunday singles.
“I was tired when I woke up, but it’s a tiring week,” Johnson said. “So it’s what you expect. All in all these weeks are just long, and then you compound that with the saturation of the rain, even longer for the grounds crew and volunteers and those here at Muirfield.”
Presidents Cups, currently staged in even years, are four-day, team and individual match play competitions with an available 34 points, while Ryder Cups take place in odd years and are only three days with a total of 28 points.
The 2013 season is now truly over for Johnson and his PGA Tour peers, as this week marks the beginning of the Tour’s brand new 13-14 carry-over season at the Frys.com Open in San Jose, Calif.
Johnson is not playing in that event but figures to play next in the McGladrey Classic in his current hometown of St. Simon’s Island, Ga. from Nov. 7-10.
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