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Zach Johnson Wins John Deere in Playoff Ahead of British Open

Zach Johnson beat Troy Matteson in a playoff to win golf’s John Deere Classic, ending Steve Stricker’s three-year run as champion at the final U.S. PGA Tour event before the British Open.

After Johnson and Matteson both made a double-bogey on the first playoff hole yesterday, Johnson hit a 6-iron from a fairway bunker to within a foot of the flag on the second extra hole -- again the par-4 18th -- to set up the winning birdie.

“It’s one of the best results of my career,” Johnson said at a news conference. “When it comes to execution, it’s up there, probably way up there.”

Johnson had shot a 6-under-par 65 during the final round to erase a four-shot deficit and tie Matteson, who closed with a 69, including a 60-foot (18 meter) eagle putt at the 17th hole. Both players finished with a four-round score of 20-under par 264 at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

Johnson, 36, received $828,000 for his ninth career PGA Tour title and second this year, having also won the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May. Johnson and Stricker were the only two players in the field in the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking, with Johnson entering the week at No. 17. Stricker, who was ranked 13th, tied for fifth place at 16 under.

Johnson now heads to the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in northwest England, where the third of golf’s four major championships will be played July 19-22.

“I’m excited about it,” Johnson said. “I heard the forecast is brutal, but if you have any expectations I guess that’s what you should have. England is supposed to be really wet. That’s the way it is. Go tee up and play.”

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