Zach Johnson Wins First Tourney in 2009 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Zach Johnson Wins First Tourney in 2009

HONOLULU -- Zach Johnson closed with a 5-under 65 on Sunday for a two-shot victory in the Sony Open, ending his two-week stay in Hawaii by playing his final six rounds in 30-under par.

Johnson, whose 64-67 last weekend at Kapalua gave him a tie for sixth, outlasted David Toms in a well-played duel along the back nine of Waialae to build a two-shot lead, then eliminated any drama with a two-putt birdie on the 18th for the second victory in his last six starts.

Tadd Fujikawa, the 18-year-old from Honolulu trying to become the youngest winner in the PGA Tour history, started the final round two shots out of the lead, but never got any closer as he struggled to a 73 and tied for 32nd.

I just couldn't get anything going," said Fujikawa, who resumes his senior year in high school on Monday.

Johnson finished at 15-under 265 to earn his fifth career victory.

Toms, who won the Sony Open three years ago, had to settle for a strong start to his season. He finished out of the top 125 on the money list last year and is trying to qualify for the big events that for years were a regular part of his schedule.

He kept the pressure on Johnson over the final holes, making a 4-foot birdie on the 15th to pull within one shot and saving par from the bunker on the 17th with a 12-foot putt to stay one shot behind going to the last hole.

But he tried to take too much off the corner of the dogleg and left it in the bunker. Then came an aggressive play with a hybrid that went only about 80 yards into the rough, and had too difficult a lie to get the ball close for birdie.

Johnson reached the green in two and lagged his putt within 18 inches.

Toms closed with a 66 and tied for second with Adam Scott, who gave himself a late chance with a 64. Scott left a 10-foot birdie putt short on the 17th, and he knew his birdie on the 18th to finish at 13-under 267 would not be enough.

"It was nice to get on the back nine and have a chance, and get the competitive nerves going again," Scott said. "I really enjoyed that, and I enjoyed the challenge. I wish I could have made the putt on 17 to have a bit of a chance on the last, but all in all, I'm pretty happy with how my game is shaping up."

Charles Howell III also had a chance, with three straight birdies around the turn and back-to-back birdies late in his round, a chip-in on the 16th and an 18-foot birdie on the 17th. But he missed the 18th green well to the left, chipped to 15 feet and three-putted for bogey to finish alone in fourth.

Fujikawa was feted at every turn, but his hopes faded quickly.

Fans lined the length of the 486-yard opening hole, and a handmade sign hanging from a palm tree behind the green said, "Go Tadd. Bring it Home." It was signed by the grounds crew at Waialae, who stood and cheered.

But after opening with three pars, he began a steady descent down the leaderboard -- along with one embarrassing moment.

Standing on the par-3 seventh tee, Fujikawa realized he only had 13 clubs. His caddie left a 6-iron back in the bunker on sixth fairway, and had to run back to retrieve it. Shakil Ahmed got an ovation when he returned to the tee, Fujikawa laughed, but then the kid put his shot into a bunker for another bogey.

He was only three behind when he made birdie at the turn, but each bogey dropped him 10 spots on a crowded leaderboard, ending his chance to win, finishing in the top 10 to earn a spot in the FBR Open outside Phoenix, and it ultimately affected the size of his check.

Fujikawa's first PGA Tour paycheck was $29,237, more than doubling his career earnings.

"It was a great week. I learned a lot from it," Fujikawa said. "I qualified, I made the cut, I put myself in contention. If I can keep doing that, everything will work out."

Two groups behind the big crowd, Johnson and Toms were staging a quiet duel.

They traded birdies and bogeys with only about one-fourth the size of the gallery following Fujikawa, and when Toms two-putted for birdie on the ninth, they went to back nine at 11 under. Both made birdie on the 10th, but Johnson pulled ahead with a 6-foot birdie on the 11th and an 8-footer on the 14th, and Toms never caught up.

A couple of groups ahead of the Fujikawa throng, Scott and Howell began making a move.

Howell, the runner-up to Paul Goydos two years ago, ran off three birdies around the turn to briefly take the lead at 11 under, but he settled into a pars and appeared to be running out of putts until his late flurry. The three-putt only cost him money, for he had to birdie the 18th to have any hope of a playoff.

"I take from it that I gave myself a chance," Howell said. "This is the first week of school. It was nice to get the nerves back and get in a position to win."

Saturday's attendance was 12,900, a 44 percent increase from the previous year, when Fujikawa missed the cut. ... Ernie Els tied for 39th, the first time in six appearances at the Sony Open that he finished worse than fifth. He closed with a 67 and has 21 of 24 rounds at Waialae in the 60s. ... Shigeki Maruyama missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th, costing him a top 10 and a spot in the FBR Open in two weeks. He played the Sony Open on a sponsor's exemption.

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