Sports

Zach Johnson struggles with putter during 16th Masters

He finished at 2-over, placing 51st

Zach Johnson tees off on the third hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday. (Associated Pres
Zach Johnson tees off on the third hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday. (Associated Press)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Zach Johnson finished his 16th Masters tournament — during this rare November edition — Sunday with a 1-over par 73 to end up tied for 51st at 2-over.

Johnson had an encouraging start to his day with a 1-under 35 that included a birdie on the very difficult par-3 12th. He drained a 15-footer early as the morning fog surrounded much of Augusta National.

Conditions cleared up for a perfect fall day on this magical piece of property, which produced so many vibrant red and orange colors you don’t normally see when the tournament is in the spring, especially around Amen Corner and the rest of the back nine.

“It’s different, much different in the sense that there’s humidity, which there rarely is during the month of April,” Johnson said. “The greens are very, very receptive. It depends on whether or not you get rain.

“It’s the same but different, that’s the best way I can say it. There’s more Bermuda (grass) popping than usual. It doesn’t make it any worse, it’s just different.”

This is a very familiar place for the 2007 champion but this week also included some unfamiliar conditions and weather.

As he looked back on his final day at Augusta, Johnson knows he left some shots on the course with the flat-stick.

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“I didn’t putt well today, in fact I haven’t putted well all week,” Johnson said. “The bulk of that is I’m missing putts high and short. I usually know where to hit a putt ... because of the severity and speed of these greens out here. It’s just not quite there.

“It’s not an excuse, it’s just what’s happened the last few days.

Johnson now heads home to Sea Island, Ga., for his annual PGA Tour event “home game” at the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club with his good friend Davis Love III hosting the event, as usual.

Garrett Johnston is a freelance writer who hosts the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast and is on Twitter as @JohnstonGarrett.

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