Maui Sports

Zach Johnson Leads Hyundai at Halfway Point

January 4, 2014, 6:51 PM HST
* Updated January 6, 6:46 AM
Listen to this Article
4 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00
A
A
A

Zach Johnson plays a shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Saturday, Jan. 4. Photo Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

Zach Johnson plays a shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Saturday, Jan. 4. Photo Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

By Rodney S. Yap

Professional golfers make a living submitting par-fives, and the long holes at The Plantation Course are annually pummeled by eventual winners of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

After all, the massive Plantation Course is driver friendly and players who are big off the tee are rewarded handsomely.

Zach Johnson, however, is not of that philosophy and neither is his golf game, which happens to be one of the hottest on the PGA Tour since July when the 2007 Masters champion earned seven top-10 finishes in 10 official US tour events.

“I never really get too caught up in scores, or placement, like where I’am at (on the leaderboard),” said the 37-year-old Johnson, who is seeking his 11th PGA Tour win. “I go to work every week, that’s my mindset right now. I’m comfortable. Comfortable with the make-up in my bag . . . and my putting. I’m just trying to be patient.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Hyundai Tournament of Champions Tee TimesJohnson’s fine-tuned wedge play — and patience — helped him build a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the 2014 opener with a bogey-free 66 on Saturday, that did not include a single birdie at any of the four par-fives. Instead, he hit a series of wedge shots close to the pin on the par-fours and putted well enough to post a 13-under total of 133.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

“You know I parred every one of them,” Johnson said of the par-fives.

Like many, Johnson was happy to see the return of the prevailing trade winds.

“If you have the proper winds, for me not being a bomber, I feel like I can take advantage,” said Johnson, who is known for his accuracy off the tee and stellar short game. “There were a lot of wedges today and that’s where I’ve got to continue to stick it close, with those wedges.”

Dustin Johnson follows his drive off the ninth tee during the second round of the Tournament of Champions golf tournament, Saturday, Jan. 4, in Kapalua. Photo by Marco Garcia/AP Photo.

Dustin Johnson follows his drive off the ninth tee during the second round of the Tournament of Champions golf tournament, Saturday, Jan. 4, in Kapalua. Photo by Marco Garcia/AP Photo.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

One stroke off the lead overnight after opening with a six-under-par 67, the American broke clear of a log-jammed leaderboard, making seven birdies against the elite 30-man champions field at Kapalua’s picturesque resort.

Matt Kuchar (68), Jordan Spieth (70) and defending champion Dustin Johnson (66) were tied for second place, with fellow Americans Webb Simpson (71) and Michael Thompson (71) another stroke back at nine under.

“The more I get my feet here, the more I walk these grounds, the more comfortable I become,” Johnson said after hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation and taking 30 putts. “I don’t know how many years I’ve been here. This is seven or eight probably, and I’ve had maybe one or two decent finishes, but nothing so spectacular.”

In contrast, Dustin Johnson birdied seven of the eight par 5s he’s played this week.

“It was back to a pretty normal wind here today . . . I thought the golf course played a little tougher yesterday. Today it was in great shape and I played a little better,” said Dustin, who birdied six of the first nine holes.

Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Saturday, Jan. 4. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Saturday, Jan. 4. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

“This golf course sets up well for me. I can reach all the par-fives and then there are a few short holes where you can drive it up close to the green. If I chip and putt it well, I’m going to shoot a good score pretty much every time around here.”

Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia, the world No. 2 and highest-ranked player on Maui, carded a second successive 70 to end the day at six under, seven strokes off the pace.

“It’s not going to be easy my first time,” said Spieth about contending. “Luckily I have been playing against these guys now for five or six months consistently. They are buddies of mine so it’s going to fun to go out there and compete, because that’s what it’s all about.

“The thing is in the third round I need to be a lot more patient. Last year it was my highest scoring average. I was trying to get to close to the lead before the final round and that threw me back. On Sunday’s I made up for it and sometimes backed my way into the top 10 but ultimately I have been in position after the first two rounds a lot, but I can’t take it for granted and I need to be a lot more patient than I did last year.”

Round 2 – Complete

Humidity 58% / Wind ENE 16 MPH / 81° Clear

POS START CTRY PLAYER TO PAR TODAY THRU R1 R2 R3 R4 TOT
1 5 Zach Johnson -13 -7 F 67 66 133
T2 11 Dustin Johnson -10 -7 F 70 66 136
T2 9 Matt Kuchar -10 -5 F 68 68 136
T2 1 Jordan Spieth -10 -3 F 66 70 136
T5 1 Webb Simpson -9 -2 F 66 71 137
T5 1 Michael Thompson -9 -2 F 66 71 137
T7 5 Ryan Moore -8 -2 F 67 71 138
T7 5 Kevin Streelman -8 -2 F 67 71 138
T9 11 Brandt Snedeker -7 -4 F 70 69 139
T9 11 Ken Duke -7 -4 F 70 69 139
T9 5 Jason Dufner -7 -1 F 67 72 139
12 11 Adam Scott -6 -3 F 70 70 140
T13 18 Gary Woodland -5 -3 F 71 70 141
T13 11 Harris English -5 -2 F 70 71 141
T13 1 Chris Kirk -5 +2 F 66 75 141
T16 24 Woody Austin -4 -3 F 72 70 142
T16 11 Patrick Reed -4 -1 F 70 72 142
T16 10 Sang-Moon Bae -4 E F 69 73 142
19 18 Martin Laird -3 -1 F 71 72 143
T20 24 Billy Horschel -2 -1 F 72 72 144
T20 24 Russell Henley -2 -1 F 72 72 144
T20 18 Bill Haas -2 E F 71 73 144
T20 18 Scott Brown -2 E F 71 73 144
24 18 Boo Weekley -1 +1 F 71 74 145
T25 29 Jonas Blixt E -3 F 76 70 146
T25 28 Jimmy Walker E E F 73 73 146
T25 24 D.A. Points E +1 F 72 74 146
T25 11 Brian Gay E +3 F 70 76 146
29 18 John Merrick +1 +3 F 71 76 147
30 30 Derek Ernst +9 +3 F 79 76 155

 

 

 

 

 

E-Mail Newsletters Receive daily or weekly updates via e-mail. Subscribe Now
News Alerts Breaking news alerts on your mobile device. Get the App

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments