A true Georgia peach
Johnson answers AT&T in playoff
Zach Johnson is two-thirds of the way to the Georgia Slam.
OK, no such achievement exists, but anything seems possible for the Masters champion in the Peach State.
"Yeah, I'm not sure what it is," he said. "You know, for whatever reason, I've had success here."
Johnson won the AT&T Classic yesterday, beating Ryuji Imada with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff. Johnson, also the 2004 winner, closed with a 5-under-par 67 to match Imada (70) at 15-under 273 on the TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga.
In the playoff on the par-5 18th, Johnson hit his second shot above the pin, then rolled a 60-footer for eagle within 5 inches of the hole. He now had his third PGA Tour victory, all in Georgia.
Imada's tee shot landed in the left-side rough and his 3-wood failed to clear the water in front of the green.
Laying up was not an option, Imada thought, because with Johnson in the middle of the fairway, there seemed little chance his opponent would settle for par.
"I don't want to second-guess myself," Imada said. "If I laid up, it was going to be a tough shot regardless. The green on 18, front left, is pretty hard. I mean, having a 15-footer for birdie, you know, your chances are not good."
Seeking to become just the third player from Japan to win on the PGA Tour, Imada lost a critical stroke with a drop that all but nullified his next approach, which landed 13 feet from the pin.
Matt Kuchar (70), Camilo Villegas (71), and Troy Matteson (73) tied for third at 12 under, and Chris Tidland (68), Stephen Marino (70), and Bob Estes (70) followed at 11 under.
Phil Mickelson, a week after winning the Players Championship, skipped the tournament. Tiger Woods and many of the world's other top golfers did, too.
"This field was great," Johnson said. "It didn't have so-called marquee players that everybody knows or the media attaches to, [but] everybody that teed it up this week, for the most part . . . is going to be in the top 50, top 30, top 15 players in the world."
LPGA -- Lorena Ochoa won for the first time since replacing Annika Sorenstam as the No. 1 player in women's golf, and put an exclamation point on it by defending her
Ochoa caught front-running Sarah Lee and finished three strokes ahead, closing with a bogey-free 4-under 68 in the event that turned into match play after the top two distanced themselves from the field the day before.
The victory was the second of the season and the 11th of her career for the 25-year-old Mexican.
Ochoa had a 72-hole total of 18-under 270 on the Upper Montclair Country Club in successfully defending an LPGA title for the first time in her career. She won last year at the Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, N.Y.
"I really liked my round today because I didn't make any bogeys and I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities," Ochoa said. "I played smart golf."
Futures -- Liz Janangelo (76) of West Hartford parred the third playoff hole to beat Emily Bastel (72) in the Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City (Kan.) Championship for her second win of the season. They ended the 54-hole event at 4-over 217.
"It's always hard to win and I was very, very nervous on the front nine today," Janangelo, 23, said on the tour's website. "It's just nice to have another win to sort of validate the first one."
Champions -- Defending champion Brad Bryant beat R.W. Eaks on the third hole of a playoff to become the first player to win the Regions Charity Classic in Hoover, Ala., twice.
Bryant sank a nearly 13-foot birdie putt on the 470-yard, par-4 18th hole after both parred the hole twice in the playoff.
Bryant and Eaks shot 7-under 65s to finish at 12-under 204.
European -- In Adare, Padraig Harrington beat Bradley Dredge on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to become the first Irishman to win the Irish Open in 25 years.
Harrington had a three-stroke lead going into the round and shot a 1-under 71 to finish at 5-under 283, but Dredge had four birdies on six holes on the back to nine to shoot a 68 that drew him even.