Despite struggling with his driver off the tee, Chris Kirk shot a five-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over fellow University of Georgia alumnus Harris English and PGA Tour rookie Will Wilcox heading into the final round of the Sony Open.
Kirk made the most out of his round on Saturday at Waialae Country Club, which included a nine-footer for birdie on no. 18 to narrowly separate him from the clustered leaderboard. There are 26 players within five shots of the lead.
Zach Johnson put on a short-game clinic at Kapalua’s Plantation Course to capture his third victory in four months on Monday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Similar to what we saw at last month’s World Challenge, where he took down Tiger Woods in a playoff, Johnson’s precision with his wedges helped him on his way to a final-round, seven-under 66.
Zach Johnson fired a seven-under 66 to get to -13 at the halfway mark, taking a three-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth. Most intriguing part of Zach’s somewhat “boring” round? He didn’t make birdie on any of the par-5s!
With eight holes to play on Sunday at Sherwood, Tiger Woods was ready to start his victory lap on his way to the winner’s circle, the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, an 18-man annual cash grab that benefits his foundation (and the pockets of top PGA Tour players). Woods had a four-shot lead, with his only challenger being the scrappy Zach Johnson. What could go wrong?
The stage was set for Tiger to win triumphantly as he said goodbye to Southern California — since the event moves to Florida, Woods’ adopted home state beginning next year.
Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner started slow, going 2 down through 7 to Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman in Saturday’s foursomes (fourth round). However, the momentum shifted when Dufner, aka Duff Daddy the ballstriking savant, knocked it to two feet on the par-3 8th, giving Zach just a kick-in two-footer for birdie. From there, the Americans were six-under in the next seven holes, making them pretty much invincible.
To top it off, Johnson hit a 117-yard shot and jarred it for an eagle on the par-5 no. 15. Sterne threw up a hail mary from the greenside bunker to try and match Zach’s eagle and, but to no avail.
Zach Johnson was scheduled to fly with the Kuchars and the Loves to Ohio on Monday for the Presidents Cup, but Johnson was battling a bad case of the stomach flu and didn’t arrive until late Tuesday morning, causing him to miss the U.S. team photo.
Before I jetted down to Atlanta for the Tour Championship, GNN’s Ryan Ballengee joined me to discuss Zach Johnson’s win at the BMW Championship, Jim Furyk’s 59 and Tiger Woods and Oscillate-Gate, along with a quick preview of this week’s Tour Championship. We also chat about the big news that was officially announced earlier today.
By the way, Ballengee and I still need a name for our weekly Hangout show. Suggestions welcome!