EAST MOLINE, IL The JDC board of directors today congratulated fellow board member Zach Johnson on his victory Sun. in The AT&T Classic at the TPC Sugarloaf outside Atlanta.
The 31-year-old Cedar Rapids native birdied the 1st hole of a sudden death playoff to defeat Ryuji Imada, who had forced the playoff with his birdie on the 72nd hole. Trailing by 3 strokes at the beginning of the final round, Johnson fired a 5-under 67 and had a 1-stroke lead before Imada got up-and-down for birdie to tie him at 15-under 273 in regulation play.
The victory was Johnson's 1st since The Masters Tournament Apr 8 and his 2nd at the TPC Sugarloaf, where he won his 1st PGA Tour title as a rookie in '04. He also finished 2nd to Phil Mickelson there last year.
Johnson now has 3 PGA Tour wins. The victory moved him up to 13 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The only other players with multiple victories this year on the PGA Tour are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
"We couldn't be happier for Zach and we look forward to welcoming him back to this year's John Deere Classic," said Clair Peterson, tournament director of the JDC. "In his time as a member of our executive board, Zach has been a great ambassador for the JDC and has given our board valuable insights from a player's perspective on how to make our tournament the best it can be."
Johnson's latest victory is especially timely. After his victory at the Masters, the Iowa state legislature declared this Thurs "Zach Johnson Day." Johnson is scheduled to be in Des Moines to participate in the festivities.
Johnson shot 71-66-69-67.273 in regulation at the AT&T. He made only 4 bogeys all week, none on the back 9. Playing 1 group ahead of Imada, Johnson rolled in a 42-foot birdie putt on the first hole and made a 14-footer on the 15th hole to tie him.
Unlike some other players who go into a competitive shell after winning a major championship, Johnson has been on fire since The Masters. In the 4 events since Augusta, he has finished in the top 20 3 times, including 6th at the Verizon Heritage, 16th at The Players, and 1st in Atlanta.
Johnson joined the JDC board of directors in '05 and is scheduled to serve at least through '08. He also became a member of the PGA Tour Players Advisory Council in '05. He joined the PGA Tour fulltime in '04 after leading the Nationwide Tour in earnings the year before. Johnson regularly attends executive board meetings via telephone either from his home in Lake Mary, FL or from wherever he might be on Tour during a given week.
A graduate of Drake University, Johnson majored in business while competing on the golf team. He turned professional in '98. He played on the mini-tours, winning on the Prairie Tour and the Tear Drop Tour. He won the Iowa State Open in '01 and '02. He was the leading money winner on the Hooters Tour in '01, where he won the Tour's last 3 events and earned Player of the Year honors.
In '02 and '03, he received sponsor exemptions to play in the JDC, where his fans brightened the gallery with yellow "Zach Attack" t-shirts. In '03, Johnson was leading money winner and Player of the Year on the Nationwide Tour, earning the right to play regularly on the PGA Tour in '04. As a rookie, he won the former Bell South Classic, now the AT&T. In '06, Johnson played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, accounting for 1.5 points.
Johnson and his wife, Kim, had their first child, Will, in Jan. Both were greenside Sun, as they were at Augusta National when he won the Masters.