Slow start eventually catches up to Zach Johnson at Colonial

Posted Sunday, May. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Zach Johnson’s bid to join Colonial’s most exclusive club, whose only member is Fort Worth golf’s supreme being, was perhaps undone with a bad beginning.

On Sunday, Johnson fell just short of becoming the only golfer not named Hogan to win more than two Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial championships.

Ben Hogan won five during his fabled career.

A closing round of 4-under 66, including two birdies in his last three holes, gave Johnson hope that he would defend his 2012 championship.

Instead, when all the scorecards had been signed, Johnson, with a 12-under 268 total, sat alone in third, two strokes back of champion Boo Weekley.

It was a first-round 69 on Thursday that had Johnson wondering about what might have been.

Johnson, who first won at Colonial in 2010, finished with two bogeys in his last three rounds overall — albeit an untimely one at No. 15 on Sunday — after carding three on the first day.

“I just didn’t get off to a great start,” said Johnson, who fired rounds of 65 and 68 on Friday and Saturday. “Just a couple of poor mishaps and bad shots that didn’t go in the fairway. And that cost me.

“Woulda, coulda, shoulda. I got zero regrets. I fought and actually hit a good putt on 18.”

That was a 21-foot birdie attempt that would have left Johnson tied for second with Matt Kuchar.

Nonethless, Johnson continues to distinguish himself at Colonial in very Hogan-like ways.

His finish in 2013 marked a fourth consecutive top-10 in Fort Worth. Hogan had seven straight top-10s from 1946-53 and a run of four more from 1964-67.

A handsome check of $435,200 also awaited Johnson, boosting his status as Colonial’s top earner. The Iowa native who now lives in Georgia has earned more than $3.3 million in eight Colonial appearances — all in the money.

That’s more than even Hogan, who was the tournament’s top money man from 1946-68, though both golfers’ earnings reflect clearly different eras in sports.

In 2012 purse dollars, Hogan’s career winnings at Colonial would be more than $10 million.

Johnson’s 21-under 259 total in 2010 also stands as the best 72-hole score.

“She seems to like me,” Johnson joked, referring to the grande dame, Colonial. “I like what this course demands. It requires every club in your bag.”

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