MILWAUKEE (AP) — Richard S. Johnson birdied three of his last four holes to shoot a 6-under-par 64 Sunday and win the U. S. Bank Championship for his first PGA Tour victory.
Johnson finished at 16-under 264 on the 6,759-yard Brown Deer Park Golf Course. He is the sixth golfer from Sweden to win on tour and seventh first-time winner this year.
Johnson, the first round leader after shooting a 63, sank a birdie putt of about 12 feet on the par-4 17th hole to break a tie with Ken Duke at 14-under. He then birdied the par-5 18th from less than 2 feet.
He needed that final birdie to win because Duke, playing in his threesome, also birdied the last hole.
Duke shot 65 to finish second at 15-under.
Dean Wilson (65), Chad Campbell (65) and Chris Riley (66) tied for third at 13-under.
Kenny Perry closed brilliantly with a 64 to get to 12-under and finish tied for sixth with three other golfers.
Perry had been criticized for skipping the British Open to play here after winning three of his last five tournaments, including last week’s John Deere Classic. He chose to play in Milwaukee because he felt he had the best chance of picking up points so he can make this year’s Ryder Cup team. The event is being held in his native Kentucky.
Perry felt his finish vindicated that decision.
“I accomplished my goal,” Perry said. “I wanted to top 10 it. I told my people, I told my friends. I said, ‘If I can just go there and have a good top 10, I’ve accomplished my mission.”‘
Johnson started the day at 10-under, a shot back of third-round leaders Gavin Coles and Nick Flanagan. Like fellow countryman Greg Norman at the British, they failed to follow up their third-round lead with a victory. Coles and Flanagan each shot even par-70 and tied for 11th place.
Johnson, who had to go through qualifying school last fall to get his tour card, had only made the cut in three of ten events this season. He had not finished in the top 25 of any event until he won this one.
But his opening 63 gave him some confidence and paved the way for his fine play to win the tournament. That opening round included a hole-in-one on the 14th hole, the first one there since Tiger Woods turned the trick in his professional debut in 1996.
Johnson struggled early in the final round with bogeys on two of his first three holes. It looked like he was in more trouble with a wayward drive on the par-5 sixth hole, but he managed to get his ball on the green in three and made a 12-foot birdie putt to get his round back on track.
Troy Matteson, Duke, and Campbell all made the turn at 12-under, one shot ahead of Johnson. At one time four players were tied at 13-under but Johnson birdied the 15th hole and Duke the 16th to break away and tie at 14-under.
Defending champion Joe Ogilive failed in his bid to become the first player to win back-to-back titles in the tournament, which began in 1968. He shot a 67 and finished tied for sixth.
The Bank Championship and the Players Championship, which began in 1974, have gone longer than any other tourneys without a repeat winner.