Zach Johnson drained a 30-foot birdie on the last shot of his shimmering second round Friday at Carnoustie, setting himself up for a shot at another Open Championship.
Johnson, 42, shot the round of the morning wave Friday (67) in Scotland after opening with a bogey on No. 1 and entered the clubhouse with a one-shot lead.
Within an hour of signing his card, one of Johnson’s six roommates for the week — first-round leader Kevin Kisner — was back on top.
Adorned in rain gear, Johnson began his rally with birdies at the third and fourth holes. He succeeded with a strategy of playing a pronounced draw on almost every hole, avoiding trouble and wielding a mistake-free putter.
“Everybody says you’ve got to hit it low, knock-down, punch shots. You do,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to use the ground. You’ve got to know where to land it. All of the above. But you’ve got to hit it high. You’ve got to hit it left. You’ve got to hit it right. You’ve got to hold it. You’ve got to turn it, use the wind. You’ve got to do everything.”
A win at Carnoustie would be Johnson’s third major title. He won the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews and the 2007 Masters.
One week ago, Johnson was listed at 100-to-1 odds in Las Vegas to win The Open. Many of his bunkmates this week — including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker — had better odds.
But by creeping up the leaderboard, Johnson increased his chances to not only win the tournament but foot the bill for the group to fly back to the United States.
“Two years ago we, I don’t know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson. “I didn’t pay last year. Somebody else did.”
Because of the various travel plans, many of Johnson’s peers will head different directions when they split from Scotland this year. But if they all want to get back on the same bird, Johnson wouldn’t mind footing the sizable bill, especially if he’s carrying home another silver trophy.
“I’d be happy to fork it over,” Johnson said.
—Field Level Media