Date: July 16, 2012
Author: Omnisport

Johnson claims John Deere play-off

American Zach Johnson has ended Steve Stricker&aposs three-year domination of the John Deere Classic, prevailing in a play-off on Sunday as Australian John Senden ended the tournament three strokes off the pace in a controversial finish. Johnson, though, emerged victorious after a two-hole play-off against fellow American Troy Matteson, who led at the end of each round and was leading the field before a double-bogey on the 15th hole gave Johnson a chance. Johnson, though, produced the goods when it counted, posting his second six-under 65 round of the tournament as Mattseon managed a two-under 69. As the lead swung in a topsy-turvy final round, Johnson moved two shots clear of the field after a birdie at the 17th but Matteson refused to go away, sinking a 60-foot eagle putt to send him level with Johnson once again. With scores level, Matteson required a birdie on the 18th to lift the trophy but his ball was picked up by a spectator. No penalty was applied but Matteson was unable to sink the birdie needed as the match entered a play-off with the pair finishing the 72 holes on 20 under overall. Both players made double-bogeys on the first play-off hole but Johnson hit a birdie on the par-four 18th hole to secure his second title of the season, having won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May. Another American in Scott Piercy claimed third place with a six-under 65, while Australia&aposs John Senden finished in a season-best fourth position. Senden, the 2006 champion, started the day in fifth but a four-under-par final round of 67, which included six birdies and an eagle, elevated him into fourth – his best performance of the year after previously sharing sixth at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in March. Stricker (70), the John Deere Classic winner in 2009, 2010 and 2011, could only manage fifth with compatriot Luke Guthrie (64). After Senden Stuart Appleby (71) was the next best placed Australian, finishing in a share for 25th alongside Americans Dicky Pride (65), Robert Garrigus (71), and Blake Adams (67) and German Alex Cejka (67). In Inverness, meanwhile, India&aposs Jeev Milkha Singh has trumped Italian Francesco Molinari at the first play-off hole to win the Scottish Open as the Australian contingent failed to make up much ground on the final day at the Castle Stuart Golf Links. Singh took it to a deciding hole on Sunday after his five-under 67 cut into Molinari&aposs one-shot overnight lead as the Italian could only manage an even-par 72 in the final round. Molinari, who shot a course record 62 in the opening round that helped him lead the way through the first three days, could only manage two bogeys and two birdies while Singh carded a bogey-free round to square it at 17-under overall. After waiting for some time in the clubhouse, Singh rolled in his birdie putt on the 18th from 13 yards while Molinari&aposs effort from 25 feet never came close. Molinari led by a stroke heading into the final five holes but could not avoid a bogey on the par-four 15th that eventually forced the play-off. Denmark&aposs Anders Hansen dropped down the order to equal 11th with a final-round three over after trailing Molinari by a stroke heading into Sunday. Swede Alexander Noren and Scotland&aposs Marc Warren were a shot off the leaders at 16 under, despite local chance Warren leading by two strokes at one stage during the final round. World number one and defending champion Luke Donald of England needed a big round to be in contention but could only manage a one-over 73 to finish in equal 16th at 12 under alongside major winners Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson. Richard Green was the best of the Australians at 11 under but blew an outside chance for the win with a one-over 73 after three sub-70 rounds. Compatriot Marcus Fraser finished at seven under in a tie for 47th. The win booked Singh&aposs place at next week&aposs British Open to be held at Royal Lytham and St Annes in Lancashire, England. German Caroline Masson, meanwhile, has claimed her maiden Ladies European Tour title by winning the South African Women&aposs Open on Sunday as Australian Lindsey Wright came home with a wet sail. Masson carded a one-under-par 71 in the final round at Selborne Park Golf Club to finish one stroke ahead of South African Lee-Anne Pace (70) and England&aposs Danielle Montgomery (72). South Africa&aposs Tandi Cuningham (70) and Joanna Klatten (73) of France, both one-over for the tournament, shared fourth, while Australian Wright jumped nine places with a third-round one-under-par 71 to finish in a share for sixth alongside Frenchwoman Julie Greciet (73) and South African Ashleigh Simon (74). Bree Arthur (73) was the next placed Australian in a tie for ninth, with Alison Whitaker (76), Rebecca Artis (77) and Stacey Keating (77) finishing further back in 28th position. Winds of up to 81km/h forced the scheduled tee-off time to be delayed by an hour but once play began, the 23-year-old German showed her class as she did not drop a single shot for the day. Leading from round one, she sunk a birdie putt on the par-five third hole and parred the final 15 holes to help lead her to victory. “I&aposm so happy. It was such a tough day with the wind,” Masson said following her win. “I hung in there and made my pars. I got lucky a few times, and I had a few birdie chances but didn&apost make those putts. “But all in all I&aposm really happy with the way I played.”