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Zach Johnson: I was sure Open glory was out of reach

By Staff Reporter

Published 22/07/2015

Prize guy: Zach Johnson gets his hands on the Claret Jug
Prize guy: Zach Johnson gets his hands on the Claret Jug

Zach Johnson will be delighted to have been proved so wrong after he claimed his second Major title with a dramatic victory in the Open Championship at St Andrews.

At the start of the year, Johnson gave a press conference as defending champion at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and was asked to name the three tournaments he was most looking forward to in 2015.

Johnson immediately thought of the year's four Majors and, discounting the one constant venue of Augusta National - where he won the Masters in 2007 - the 39-year-old summed up his chances.

"No, no and no," he joked. "I don't even know where the US Open is.

"The Open? No. That's my least favourite in the rotation. I say that and I love that tournament and I still like St Andrews.

"I feel like it's one where you've just got to hit it left and you've got to hit it 290 in the air and it just doesn't favour me."

Any of the fans who endured rain and wind delays and were able to make it to St Andrews for just the second Monday finish in Open history would have been hard pressed to realise the Old Course was not Johnson's favourite.

While Irish amateur Paul Dunne grabbed the headlines with a third round of 66 to share the lead, Johnson's 70 meant he entered the final round three off the pace and under the radar of most.

"I guess that radar is going bonkers right now," Johnson joked after a closing 66, including a vital birdie on the 18th for the fourth round in succession, took him into a play-off with 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen and Australia's Marc Leishman.

Next up is the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits next month and, given what he said about St Andrews, it may be wise to ignore his thoughts on the venue from that very same press conference.

"I don't like Whistling Straits. I lost by a shot there and I don't like it," said Johnson, who finished a shot out of the play-off between Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson in the 2010 US PGA. "I didn't really like it and I still don't like it."

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