SPORTS

Dufner joins Zach Johnson Foundation Classic

Four majors winners now in Cedar Rapids golf event

Jason Dufner after winning the 2013 PGA Championship (USA TODAY Sports photo)
Jason Dufner after winning the 2013 PGA Championship (USA TODAY Sports photo)

A Ryder Cup reunion of sorts will take place at this year’s Zach Johnson Foundation Classic.

Jason Dufner and Davis Love III were announced among the additions to the field for the July 7 event at Elmcrest Country Club. Love was the captain of the U.S.’ 2012 Ryder Cup team. Dufner and Johnson were playing partners who won two of their three doubles matches.

Perhaps more significantly, this gives the event four former major-tournament winners (Johnson, Dufner, Love, Lucas Glover) and four of the top 20 players in the World Golf Rankings (No. 9 Jordan Spieth, No. 16 Johnson, No. 18 Steve Stricker, No. 19 Dufner).

Dufner and Johnson became linked during the 2012 PGA Tour season at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Dufner had won two of his three previous tourneys, but Johnson beat him by one shot there. Four months later, they were doubles teammates at the Ryder Cup, and meshed so well in their first match that they were kept together for all three of their doubles sessions.

Dufner made his biggest splash last year when he won the PGA Championship. He was again second at the Crowne Plaza at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, last month.

Love, 50, is still an active PGA Tour player. He has 20 Tour victories, including the 1997 PGA Championship, and played on six Ryder Cup squads before captaining the 2012 team. This will be his second appearance at the ZJFC.

Also added to the field were Ben Crane and Scott Stallings. Crane collected his fifth Tour win two weekends ago when he won the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Stallings is a three-time Tour winner, including this year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

They’ll join Stricker, Spieth, Glover and Kyle Stanley as pros in the field. Spieth is fifth in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup point standings, and Dufner is eighth. Johnson is 11th. The top nine qualify for the September event in Scotland, with three more players added as captain’s picks.

Besides the golf pros, former University of Iowa athletes Greg Brunner, Matt Gatens, Bob Hansen, Danan Hughes and Chuck Long will play.

Last year’s event raised $800,000. The money raised supports Kids on Course, a pilot program finishing its third year at Van Buren Elementary and Harrison Elementary Schools designed to help children realize their academic and individual potential.

Admission is free this year. Information about parking, shuttles and the schedule of events can be found online at www.zachjohnsongolf.com.

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@sourcemedia.net

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