Johnson steals Tiger's thunder with Sherwood win

Sun Dec 8, 2013 9:21pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - Tournament host Tiger Woods was denied a sixth win of the year in sensational fashion when he lost the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in a playoff with Zach Johnson at Sherwood Country Club on Sunday.

Johnson, who had twice finished second to fellow American Woods at this elite limited-field event, sealed victory with a rock-solid par at the 18th, the first extra hole, where Woods lipped out with a five-footer to bogey.

The duo had finished regulation amid high drama and sharp swings of fortune on 13-under 275, Woods parring the last for a two-under 70 and Johnson, who came from four strokes behind with four birdies in the last eight holes, closing with a 68.

"It was a bit too much drama at the end there," a beaming Johnson told reporters after earning the winner's cheque for $1 million. "I feel very fortunate and somewhat lucky to be sitting here as a champion."

Tied for the lead at 13 under, Johnson appeared to have the title firmly in his grasp in regulation when five-times champion Woods, from the left rough at the 18th, dumped his approach into a greenside bunker.

However Johnson, perfectly positioned in the fairway, stunningly found water with his second, took a penalty drop and then holed out from 58 yards in the fairway for a par four as the galleries erupted in deafening celebration.

"It was just a bad swing and I got caught up in the moment," Johnson said of his poor approach from the 18th fairway. "That was the worst shot I hit all day ... probably the worst I hit all week.

"Certainly the next shot was a little too dramatic for me, but I was very lucky to hit that one in."   Continued...

U.S. golfer Zach Johnson tees off during the Singles matches for the 2013 Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio October 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes