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Johnson Overcomes Dufner & Two-Stroke Penalty to Win at Colonial
Zach Johnson took advantage of mistakes by 54-hole leader Jason Dufner, posting a 2-over 72 to Dufner's closing 74 to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial for the second time in his career. The $6.4 million PGA Tour event took place at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Neither player in the last twosome played particularly well Sunday. Dufner, who started the final round with a one-stroke edge over Johnson, had a tough day with a bogey, two birdies and a double-bogey on the par-4 ninth to make the turn in 1-over 36.
Things didn't improve on the second nine as the 35-year-old - who was seeking his third victory in a month - had a bogey, birdie and a disastrous triple-bogey seven on the par-4 15th that gave Johnson a lead the Iowan wouldn't relinquish.
On the 15th Dufner's tee ball found a fairway bunker and his approach hit the green but rolled off into a water hazard. He then hit a poor chip shot that ran off the green, hit back to 4 feet and missed for the triple to give Johnson a four-stroke margin that later proved important.
Though Johnson bogeyed the bogeyed the 16th to reduce his lead to three, and doubled the par-4 closing hole after failing to replace his ball mark in its original place - resulting in a two-stroke penalty after the round, he still managed to win by a stroke. The victory by Johnson, who finished at 12-under 268, was the first for the 2007 Masters champion since his win at Colonial two years ago and the eighth of his career.
Johnson, who earned $1.152 million and 500 FedEx Cup points, said later that his caddie Damon Green told him about the violation following the round. "You can come up with a number of adjectives for that," Johnson said. "I can think of a number in my head." But the mistake didn't result in what would have been an unexpected and disheartening loss. "No harm, no foul," Johnson told reporters.
Before the ball-mark snafu was revealed, Johnson was exuberant when his final putt dropped on the 72nd hole, where he was greeted by his two young sons, Johnson then paid tribute at greenside to his caddie's father, Rev. Douglas Green, who passed away last week.
He also tipped his cap to Dufner, who after going 164 starts without a victory on the PGA Tour, won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April and took home the title in last week's Byron Nelson Championship. "In some respects, I feel like I took down a lion," Johnson said in reference to the hottest player on the planet. "Jason has played so well lately. He's been at the top of his game."
"I didn't have it today," said a disappointed Dufner, whose next tournament is the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco in three weeks.
Though Dufner and Johnson began the final round with eight- and seven-shot edges, respectively, over the rest of the field, the leaderboard tightened up due to their poor play Sunday.
Tommy Gainey carded a 3-under 67 to rise up to solo third at 273, while another stroke back was Jim Furyk, who had a 68. Sharing fifth at 275 were Chris Kirk (65), Harris English (67), Rickie Fowler (69), John Huh (70) and Ryan Palmer (70).
Ben Crane (68), Jonathan Byrd (70) and Jonas Blixt (71) tied for 10th at 277.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard/.