Johnson claims maiden win in Milwaukee
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 US Bank Championship | Round Four | 21 Jul 2008
Richard.S.Johnson today won his first PGA Tour event when he recovered from a slow start of his final round to win the US Bank Championship in Milwaukee.
The 31-year-old Swede, who won the 2002 ANZ Championship at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney in 2002, has been steadily establishing himself in the US via the PGA and Nationwide Tours. Johnson’s previous best finish had been runner up at the 2006 Bank of America Colonial behind Tim Herron and as he headed into this week there was hardly reason to suggest his maiden PGA Tour win was close at hand.
Johnson has made only three of eight cuts this season and with a best of 37th and just US$48,000 in earnings things needed to turn around. They would do just that with an opening round of 63.
“I’ve been struggling this year,” said Johnson after his first round of 63 which included a hole in one. “I came out of Tour School, and I didn’t really get anything going early. And then the shuffle (re-Rank) came in, and then after the shuffle, when you didn’t play well in the first three events, it was just you kind of got down there in the 40s. And you just didn’t get any starts with how the schedule is set now with all the big tournaments leading up to Augusta.”
“Then you have that stretch Colonial, Memorial thing, so it’s been hard to get any continuity going when this is my tenth event maybe this year in six months. So it’s been spotty, but I’ve been playing well of late, so it’s really nice to be able to get a good round in finally.”
His form continued in rounds two and three but heading into the final day he still trailed overnight leaders Gavin Coles and Nick Flanagan by one. After opening with a birdie today, Johnson dropped shots at the 2nd and 4th and, given the scoring on this golf course, his chances looked slim.
Seven birdies in his last 14 holes however would change all that and with the win behind him he can now look forward to playing with the freedom that exemption on the PGA Tour provides.
Ken Duke finished runner up, confirming some recent good form, while Chad Campbell, Chris Riley and Dean Wilson shared third two shots further back.
Kenny Perry’s amazing year continued with a final round 64 to finish 6th.
Gavin Coles and Nick Flanagan were the best of the Australians in 11th place but while that would normally be a good week for them, they will both be disappointed with very average final rounds. The pair shared the lead into the final day but would struggle to build momentum early and their chance was gone.
Brett Rumford found some form with a 28th place finish although when he raced to the turn in 29 he might have been expecting better. Nathan Green was 56th and David Lutterus 70th.
The PGA Tour moves to Glen Abbey in Canada for this week’s Canadian Open.