The two finalists that finished the day at the John Deere Classic on Sunday were the two that looked like the least likely to do much when the day began. At the start of the tournament, it was Zach Johnson who shot his ball far into the fairway bunker on his very first drive; and Troy Matteson put his in the trees. A rough start indeed, but after shaking out a few of the kinks, both golfers straightened up their clubs and really began to play like champions.
Both made a very slow go of it though. After sputtering and stuttering on the first hole, Matteson then gave a little too much ‘oomph’ in his swing and sadly, his ball skittered into the water; only to have Johnson follow up right behind him. Things didn’t look good, for either golfer but it all turned around for them on the 18th hole. Although Johnson still put it up on the bunker, he made up for it with his second shot on the same hole, putting it just in front of the pin. All he had to do was shoot in an easy putt, and he was golden. Everyone held their breath, wondering if this last hole — and with Matteson coming up just behind — was the one to do Johnson in. It wasn’t.
With a beautiful putt that was not too hard, not too soft but just right, Matteson birdied the hole for the win. Finishing the day at two-under par, and a total of two-under 69 on his scorecard, Matteson emerged the victor with Johnson finishing just behind with an impressive 20-under par 264 that included not one bogey in the bunch.
But Matteson and Johnson weren’t the only Americans that showed what they could do on the course on Sunday. Scott Piercy also finished in third with a fairly impressive 18-under 266.
And American Steve Stricker, who finished fifth, looked like he was going to win the tournament. It wouldn’t be that surprising; he has after all, won it the past three years. Sadly though, it was not to be as Stricker bogeyed out on both the 14 and 15 holes. It looked like he might revive himself again on the 16th hole when he birdied, but after his bogey on the 17th, it was clear that this was not his year.
Zach Johnson may not have played his best day on Sunday in Silvis, Illinois; but he was the golfer that emerged as the winner. It was his ninth career win, and his second PGA Tour title of the year. Immediately after the game, Johnson boarded a charter jet so that he could fly to the United Kingdom for the British Open that’s being held next week. There he will be accompanied by Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, and Keegan Bradley.