SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Zach Johnson was just trying to get his game together for next year. He ended up salvaging this season with an unexpected victory in the Texas Open.
“I had two things in my mind this week as far as going into the week and one was no expectations,” Johnson said. “So, no, I did not expect to be here, but I guess that’s a good thing. The second was just making some commitments to my fundamentals, to my golf swing. … So it’s very encouraging.”
The 2007 Masters champion followed his third-round 62 with a 64 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Charlie Wi (61), Mark Wilson (63) and Tim Wilkinson (64).
“First and foremost, this round and this week especially was for the state of Iowa,” Johnson said. “Especially in my home, Cedar Rapids. That community was devastated in June. … I’m dedicating this one to them. They mean a lot to me.”
Johnson entered the week with only one top-10 finish this year.
“I’ve been working on my putting over the last six weeks with my teachers and it really paid off this week,” Johnson said. “I had a tough year, but the putts started to fall into today and that why I’m at the top of the leaderboard.”
The win in the Fall Series event, capped by a 5-foot birdie putt on 18, was his first on the PGA Tour outside Georgia. In addition to the Masters, he won the 2004 BellSouth Classic and 2007 AT&T Classic.
“This week I was just concentrating on the process, not the outcome,” Johnson said. “I had six weeks off this fall (after not qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs) and I just rededicated myself to getting back to what I used to do.”
Wi parred the final two holes.
“I didn’t look at the scoreboard until I got to the 15th hole. I knew Zach was close, but I was playing very good,” Wi said. “I was very happy to make those birdies on 15 and 16. I wish I could have made one more.”
Third-round leader Rory Sabbatini shot a 72 to finish seven strokes back.
Johnson never trailed on the back nine, but both Wi and Wilkinson keep the pressure on with birdies putts of their own. On the par-4 18th hole, Johnson hit his drive more than 300 yards and put his 9-iron approach to 5 feet.
“I’m not proud of many shots, but I was proud of that one,” Johnson said.
The ensuing walk up the 18th fairway was a filled with smiles and waves for the crowd, while his wife and young son waited behind the green.
“Hopefully this is the first of many to come,” Johnson said.