Zach Johnson rides hot putter to 66 in Round 1
Zach Johnson’s putter didn’t get the attention Tiger Woods’ putter did coming into Thursday first round of the PGA Championship, but there was magic in his flat stick.
Johnson rode a hot putter into early contention with a 4-under-par 66.
Johnson may be 44, five years removed from the last of his 12 PGA Tour titles, but thanks to his work on the greens he’s in early position to make a run at winning his third major championship.
Johnson, who won the Masters in 2007 and The Open in 2015, needed just 10 putts on his first nine holes at TPC Harding Park.
Woods made some news putting a new putter in his bag this week, sidelining the Scotty Cameron Newport II putter that he won 14 of his 15 majors with to give a different Scotty Cameron model a go.
Johnson moved into the spotlight rolling in 127 feet of putts.
“I putted great,” Johnson said. “Even some of the putts I missed today looked really good.”
Johnson hit just eight fairways and only 10 of 18 greens, but he made the most of his opportunities, rolling in three putts of more than 20 feet and getting up and down with regularity. He saved par seven of eight times he missed greens.
“I hit some shots close and then obviously started to make some putts and the confidence came,” Johnson said.
Johnson was on the fun side of an unusual bookend for a moment in the first round. For the week’s purposes, the PGA Tour veteran is Zach H. Johnson. For a time, he was alone atop the leaderboard while Zach J. Johnson was on the bottom of it in the morning wave. Zach J. Johnson is a PGA pro from Utah.