Z. Johnson records best WGC finish of career


AKRON, Ohio – While he couldn’t keep pace with Hideki Matsuyama down the stretch, that was no reason for Zach Johnson to hang his head at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Johnson shot a final-round 68 at Firestone Country Club after starting the day with a share of the lead, but that still left him five shots behind Matsuyama who tied the course record with a closing 61. Johnson ended up alone in second place at 11 under, notching his best career finish in a WGC event.

“I’m not mad, I’m not angry or upset. I’m encouraged,” Johnson said. “Am I a little dejected that my best wasn’t good enough this week, or arguably my best? Yeah, but that’s also good motivation.”

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While several big names bombed their way around the South Course this week, Johnson did his damage on the greens while leading the field in strokes gained putting. He got to within one shot of Matsuyama after a birdie on No. 11, but Matsuyama quickly added another birdie and eventually left the field in his dust.

Johnson’s season was in the midst of a lengthy slump before a T-5 finish at the John Deere Classic, which he followed with a top-15 result at The Open. Now the two-time major champ has not only gotten his year back on track, but he’s stockpiled some serious momentum heading into the season’s final major.

“I would just say that if I’m going to try to pinpoint weaknesses or flaws in my game, I’ve got to be pretty petty. I think that’s a good thing,” Johnson said. “Anytime you finish, I would say top-5 in a World Golf Championship, you’re doing something right.”