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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 155 - The Open wrap
and relish the challenge of beating someone with a bigger game. It doesn’t mean Zach will win every time, it just means he won’t lose because of the guy standing across from him.” It’s remarkable that Johnson’s two most recent victories have come on courses that are, by any measure, tailored for bombers – the wide open Plantation course at Kapalua and the Old Course at St Andrews. He did receive some good luck at this Open. Johnson’s putt on the 72nd green simply had to drop to keep his hopes intact, having bogeyed the Road Hole, and he then needed some help via nobody else getting past 15-under. Then, in the playoff, that Marc Leishman would three-putt the 1st hole was his doing but the reason Leishman faced a 30-foot downhiller was the product of a bad break when his tee shot settled in a partial divot, denying him the chance to play a more aggressive wedge shot, as Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen did. The South African, who is fast becoming a St Andrews specialist, battles a hot-and-cold putter. He raised its temperature in the closing holes, rolling in key par putt after key par putt on the difficult back nine before pitching it close and making the tieing birdie at the last hole and again on the first playoff hole to match Johnson. But thereafter his blade turned cold. The par putt to draw back level with Johnson with a hole left in the playoff and then the birdie attempt to extend matters at the 18th were his ultimate undoing. Minutes earlier, those putts were falling for Oosthuizen. Johnson is an extraordinary player with an intangible knack of sensing the gravity of an occasion. He strikes golf followers as a hardened player who’s not frightened by the moment and instead embraces the spotlight. His killer putt at the 72nd hole was reminiscent of Ernie Els’ birdie putt on the last green at Royal Lytham & St Annes three years ago. With Adam Scott leaking oil behind him, Els needed a closing birdie to apply pressure and duly holed a 15-footer to do so. Like Johnson at St Andrews, it just looked like Els would hole the putt for no other reason than he had to. He might be seen as something of a surprise winner at St Andrews, but anyone who’s followed Zach Johnson’s career would never be surprised at any course he conquers nor any elite field he beats. OTG
OTG Express 154 - The Open preview
OTG Express 156