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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 30, 2010

Zach Johnson adds plaid jacket with Colonial win


By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

FORT WORTH, Texas Zach Johnson now has a plaid jacket to go along with his green one.

Johnson shot a closing 6-under 64 Sunday in the final round of the Colonial, winning at Hogan's Alley with a tournament-record score of 21-under 259. The 2007 Masters champion finished three strokes ahead of Brian Davis, who had a closing 68.

When Johnson drained a 14-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole to take a two-stroke lead, he had a wide smile on his face and emphatically pumped his right fist.

The real celebration had to wait.

Before Johnson teed off for his par at the closing 18th, play was suspended for the second time in less than an hour because of threatening weather. Light rain was falling despite sunny skies after the second delay of 46 minutes, a minute shorter than the first one.

Jeff Overton and Ben Crane both shot 67 to finish tied for third at 17 under. Scott Verplank (65) and Bryce Molder (70), who led after the second and third rounds, were another shot back.

Davis was again contending for his first PGA Tour victory, six weeks after the 35-year-old Englishman called a two-stroke penalty on himself on the first hole of a playoff at Hilton Head.

At Colonial, Davis was 19 under with a two-stroke lead after a 5-foot putt at the seventh hole. But that was his last birdie of the day. His last-ditch 9-foot birdie try at the 17th slid just past the cup after the delays, then he finished with a bogey.

It is the seventh PGA Tour victory for Johnson and first since winning in San Antonio last May. His best finish through 12 tournaments this season had been a tie for 12th at the Sony Open in Hawaii the second week of the season.

Along with the plaid jacket given to the winner, Johnson gets a check for $1.116 million.

"I love it. There's a reason I love playing here and keep coming back," Johnson said. "The course does suit me as far as shot-making. I just feel honored."

Johnson's clinching shot at the 381-yard 17th was his fifth birdie on the back nine, though he gave back one of those with his only bogey over his last 2 rounds.

Three of those birdies came on putts of at least 22 feet in a four-hole stretch. He took the lead for good when he drained the longest of the three, a 25-footer at the 427-yard 15th hole soon after the initial weather delay.

When the horn sounded to suspend play the first time, Johnson was approaching his tee shot at No. 15 that landed in the right rough short of a bunker. After that delay ended, he hit his approach onto the green and made the putt to get back to 20 under.

By time play was stopped again 31 minutes later, Johnson was ready for the plaid jacket.

Kenny Perry was 19 under in both of his Colonial victories, in 2003 and 2005. The next-lowest score before this week was 17 under by a trio of players last year when Steve Stricker won on the second playoff hole.

The Colonial score was the lowest on the PGA Tour for a four-round tournament since Geoff Ogilvy won the season-opening SBS Championship in Hawaii at 22-under 270.

Before the first delay, Johnson initially got to 20 under with his other long birdies, a pair of 22-footers at the 438-yard 12th and then at the 182-yard 13th hole.

Johnson dropped back even with Davis on the next hole when he missed the fairway with his tee shot, hit his approach into a greenside bunker and had a 7-foot par attempt lip around the cup. That ended his stretch of 43 consecutive bogey-free holes since his sixth hole in the second round Friday.

Davis was on the 14th green with a 9-foot birdie chance when play was stopped the first time, but came back and curled the putt well short of the cup and had to settle for par. He was in the fairway at No. 17 when the horn sounded again.

At Hilton Head in April, Davis made a birdie on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff with Jim Furyk. Davis ticked a loose reed in a hazard during a backswing in the playoff and immediately called over a rules official to point out something that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. A television replay confirmed the violation.

Davis tied for 57th at New Orleans and missed the cut his last three tournaments before getting to Colonial.

Molder led alone halfway through the tournament and shared the lead with Davis at the start of the final round, but his final birdie Sunday came on the 10th hole, the same as Saturday, when he finished with eight consecutive pars instead of being able to lower his score.

This time, he had bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17. The four-time All-American from Georgia Tech is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory nine years after his pro debut.

DIVOTS: Johnson and Phil Mickelson are the only players who have PGA Tour wins in each of the last four seasons (2007-10). ... Mickelson missed the cut at Colonial at 4 over when he could have been the No. 1 player in the world with a victory. ... Ian Poulter, the No. 6 player in the world, shot 76 Sunday in the first group off. His 7-over total was the worst among the 76 players who made the cut. ... Stricker finished at 8 under, tied for 38th, in his first event after a six-week hiatus because of a chest injury.