Accurate Johnson in position to defend Hyundai title

RSS

The Plantation Course may seem like a bomber's venue, but Zach Johnson knows there's more than one way to conquer Kapalua.

The same game that led Johnson to a one-shot win last year in Maui again has him in contention, as accurate tee-to-green play helped the former Masters champ to a share of the lead through 36 holes at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

The targets this week are forgiving, but Johnson's second-round stat line was still impressive: 15/15 fairways hit and 18/18 greens in regulation. It added up to a 6-under 67, and at 11 under Johnson shares the lead at the halfway point with Russell Henley, Sang-Moon Bae and Jimmy Walker.

Johnson's win last year capped a torrid start to his 2013-14 season, but the veteran cooled somewhat in its aftermath and has not won since leaving Maui with the trophy. His last official top-10 finish came at the John Deere Classic in July, although he did tie for eighth at the limited-field Hero World Challenge in December.

One thing is certain: Johnson feels comfortable in Hawaii. He is already one of only four players to win both the Hyundai TOC and the Sony Open, a list that also includes fellow major winners Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Ernie Els.

"I guess it means I like Hawaii. I like what both courses present," Johnson said. "When it comes to execution with wind and trajectory control, they're both very similar and I like that kind of golf. That's kind of what I grew up playing."

This weekend Johnson will look to become the first player to go back-to-back on the Plantation Course since Geoff Ogilvy in 2009-2010, and the first player to successfully defend a PGA Tour title since Ryan Moore won the CIMB Classic in both 2013 and 2014.