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Be a better wedge player by emulating Z. Johnson

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Zach Johnson outlasted Tiger Woods in a one-hole playoff at Sherwood Country Club to win the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge on Sunday.

Johnson overcame a two-shot deficit to catch Woods, the third-round leader and host, by putting together a solid final round (4-under 68) when seemingly nobody else could get anything going.

On the 72nd hole, Johnson hit a semi-shank into the hazard short of the green on his approach, but he would recover by holing out his wedge shot from the drop circle to make a miraculous par, which forced the sudden death playoff that he would go on to win.

Holing out wedges may not happen as often as we’d like, but we can certainly have the goal of getting the ball close every time.

Use the tips below to sharpen your wedge skills and start getting the ball much closer to the hole:

• Draw your wedges. A great tip that I picked up from Zach Johnson’s swing coach, Mike Bender, is to draw your wedges (a right-to-left shot for a right-handed golfer). Most players tend to open the clubface and cut their wedge shots (left to right for the right-handed golfer), resulting in too many shots that fall short and right of the intended target. Instead, be aggressive and try to turn the ball over with your wedges by addressing the ball with a square clubface and allowing the club to rotate through impact.

• Use “big” muscles to hit wedge shots versus “small” muscles. In other words, rely less on the small, twitchy muscles like your hands and arms and more on bigger muscles like your core. A great drill to get this point across is to practice wedges shots with a towel tucked under both arms. This will promote more upper body rotation and less flipping of your hands and arms through impact.

For more tips from Golf Channel to help improve your wedge play, click here.