Johnson off to hot Hero start with opening 67

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WINDERMERE, Fla. – Zach Johnson quickly admits his historic play at the Hero World Challenge doesn’t make much sense.

In six starts at Tiger Woods’ event he’s won (2013), finished second twice (2007 and ’11), and has two other top-10 starts. Not bad for a guy who admits he normally plays his best golf when he’s been active on the PGA Tour.

“There’s something to be said for lowered expectations,” Johnson smiled on Thursday following an opening 67 that left him one stroke behind leader Jordan Spieth.


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Coming into this week’s event, Johnson hasn’t hit a shot that mattered since October at the McGladrey Classic, where he missed the cut. In fact, other than an hour-and-half session on the range back home in Georgia last week, he hadn’t touched a golf club since Friday at Sea Island Resort.

Nor could Johnson say his experience at Isleworth, located not far from where he used to live in Orlando, Fla., gave him an advantage this week. He estimated he’s played the course just six times.

Which brought him back to the question – why does he play so well at the World Challenge?

“I’d have to research that because I really don’t have a good answer for you,” he admitted.