Silvis, IL – Zach Johnson knocked a 6-iron approach from a fairway bunker inside a foot Sunday, setting up an easy birdie and a playoff victory at the John Deere Classic.
"That was my shot of the week," Johnson said in a televised interview.
Johnson bested third-round leader Troy Matteson, who had 30 feet for birdie himself on the second playoff hole, but came up short on the 18th green at the TPC Deere Run.
Matteson, who holed a 60-foot eagle on 17 to get into the playoff, may not have earned his third PGA Tour title, but he did enough to get a spot in the field next week at the British Open Championship.
Johnson fired a 6-under 65 in Sunday's final round to get in the clubhouse at 20-under 264. Matteson matched him at that number after a 2-under 69, then the pair headed back to the 18th tee for the playoff.
The extra session started off poorly for both when neither found the fairway. Johnson was in a fairway bunker, while Matteson drove into the trees on the right side.
Matteson was just trying to punch something back into play, but hit it too hard and the ball trickled into the water. Johnson had too much spin on his second and his ball also found the lake.
After drops, both players hit their fourth shots too hard and almost 15 feet past the flag. Johnson ran his bogey putt almost 5 feet past the cup, but Matteson did almost the same thing. His bogey putt didn't run quite so far past the hole and he converted the double-bogey putt. Johnson made his and it was back to the tee.
Johnson found the same bunker off the tee, but had a much flatter lie. Matteson pulled out a 3-wood and landed in the short grass. Johnson's 6-iron approach rolled up to about 4 inches, and all of the pressure was on Matteson.
He hit a decent 7-iron that came up 30 feet short. Matteson needed to hole his putt to have any chance and his putt came up short. He tapped in, then Johnson did and it was his ninth PGA Tour victory.
"This tournament means a lot to me," Johnson said in a televised interview. "It means a lot to my family."
Scott Piercy fired a 6-under 65 and took third at 18-under 266. John Senden, the 2006 champion of this event, had a 4-under 67 and came in fourth at minus-17.
Three-time defending champion Steve Stricker didn't get much going on Sunday. He shot a 1-under 70 and shared fifth place with Luke Guthrie, who carded a 64 in the final round. The pair tied at 16-under 268.
Johnson played well on Sunday with three birdies in a four-hole span around the turn. Back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 got him within one of Matteson's lead.
Matteson was on top for 14 holes on Sunday thanks to four birdies and two bogeys. Problems arose at the par-4 15th after he drove into the right rough and hammered his second long and left.
Matteson didn't make it to the green with his third and his fourth came up 8 feet short. He missed that putt, and the double bogey left him one stroke behind Johnson.
At the par-5 17th, Johnson 2-putted for a routine birdie and a 2-shot lead over Matteson. As Johnson was taking his walk up the 18th, a roar erupted one group behind.
Matteson rolled in a 60-foot eagle putt to jump into a tie for first with Johnson. Johnson had 15 feet for birdie at the last, but the ball barely slid by.
Matteson left himself in a jam at 18 when he drove into the trees. He got his second to the putting surface but left himself with 6 feet for par and a possible playoff. Matteson made it and two holes later, the title was Johnson's.
"I felt good all week," Johnson said on TV. "I felt really good on the first tee. A couple of rolls went my way, there's no doubt about that. That's golf and it feels great."
Scott Brown had a 4-under 67 and took seventh at 15-under par.
NOTES: Johnson pocketed $828,000 for the victory...He joined Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner as multiple winners this season on the PGA Tour...Johnson's regular caddy, Damon Green, tied for 17th at the U.S. Senior Open this week...Johnson's coach Mike Bender filled in on the bag for the week...Next week is the British Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Darren Clarke will defend his title...Also next week is the True South Classic, which was won last year by Chris Kirk.