Johnson rises to cusp of top 10 with playoff victory at John Deere Classic

Zach Johnson at the John Deere Classic
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Zach Johnson's second victory of the season at the John Deere Classic has boosted him into 11th place in the Official World Golf Ranking.
By
PGA.com news services

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, July 16, 2012 | 12:59 p.m.

SILVIS, Ill. -- Local favorite Zach Johnson beat Troy Matteson in a playoff to win the John Deere Classic on Sunday, and in the process moved up to the cusp of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Johnson, who also won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial earlier this year, advanced to No. 11 in the ranking, an improvemernt of six spots from his previous perch at No. 17

WORLD RANKING

This week's Open Championship is the sixth major in a row that Luke Donald has entered ranked No. 1 in the world.

Player

Points

1. Luke Donald

9.55

2. Rory McIlroy

8.53

3. Lee Westwood

7.97

4. Tiger Woods

7.65

5. Webb Simpson

6.54

6. Bubba Watson

6.22

7. Jason Dufner

5.83

8. Matt Kuchar

5.63

9. Justin Rose

5.54

10. Hunter Mahan

5.21

Also Sunday, Jeev Milkha Singh of India beat Francesco Molinari of Italy with a birdie on the first hole of sudden death at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. He rose 105 places to 87th from his previous spot at No. 192. Deere playoff loser Matteson climbed to No. 207 from his previous perch at No. 368, while Scottish playoff loser Molinari advanced to No. 22 from his previous spot at No. 28.

There were no changes inside the top 10 this week, with Luke Donald retaining the top spot for the 53rd week out of the last 60 after he tied for 16th place at the Scottish Open. He is followed by No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Lee Westwood.

At No. 4, Tiger Woods leads the parade of high-ranked Americans. He is followed by No. 5 Webb Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open champion who is sitting out this week’s British Open due to the impending birth of his second child. Reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson remains sixth, with Jason Dufner in seventh and Matt Kuchar right behind him in eighth place.

Justin Rose of England is still ninth, with American Hunter Mahan sitting in 10th.

The second 10 includes No. 11 Johnson, No. 12 Graeme McDowell (down from 11th), No. 13 Adam Scott (down from 12th), No. 14 Steve Stricker (down from 13th), No. 15 Martin Kaymer (down from 14th), No. 16 Phil Mickelson, No. 17 Dustin Johnson (down from 15th), No. 18 Louis Oosthuizen (up from 20th), No. 19 Charl Schwartzel (down from 18th) and No. 20 Rickie Fowler (down from 19th). 

At the John Deere, Johnson carded a 6-under-par 65 to finish 20 under overall alongside Matteson, who had led since Day 1 but could only manage a 2-under 69, his worst round of the week, on the final day.

That took them to a playoff hole on the 18th which, remarkably given the week's low scoring, both players contrived to double bogey. They played the hole again, and this time Johnson birdied while Matteson could only manage a par.

Johnson's playoff birdie came thanks to an exquisite 192-yard approach shot, from the same bunker he found in the first playoff hole, which was within inches of giving him an eagle.

"I think we're stating the obvious," he said. "That was really good. That was my shot of the week."

As Johnson, who as an Iowan and strong supporter of the tournament had support from the Illinois crowd, made steady progress, carding two birdies in his front nine and four on the back, Matteson appeared to have let his chance go with a double bogey at 15. That left him level for the day, but an eagle at the 17th took him into the playoff.

"All in all, you go into a playoff and lose to a shot like that, I mean, that's an unbelievable shot," said Matteson. "To hit it six inches to that hole location, I mean, if you ask most pros, they'll take middle of the green where my ball was all day long.

"My hat's off to Zach," he added. "He drove it in the bunker twice and figured out a way to win. It's a great story, you know, hometown kid. It was really good."