Zach Johnson blazed through Sherwood Country Club on Saturday shooting a a four under par round of 68. His brilliant eagle from the fairway at the eighteenth hole bolted him up the leader board, and put him in solo first place at eight under par.
Johnson started the day at four under par and after paring the entire front nine, he ignited on the back with two eagles, two birdies, and two bogeys to put him in the lead. His first eagle came at the par five eleventh with a chip in from off the green, and he followed his magnificent play with two straight birdies. His second eagle of the day came at the par four eighteenth. After making two straight bogies at the par five sixteenth and the par three seventeenth, the eagle cam at an opportune time. After hitting a perfect drive down the center of the fairway, Johnson hit a three-quarter seven iron from 161 yards. The ball landed on the green took a small hop and rolled into the cup. The eagle gave Johnson the one stroke lead over Tiger Woods as they head into Sunday's final round.
Nonetheless, a one stroke lead is still a small margin, and it's still anyone's ball game. Players like Matt Kutchar, K.J. Choi, Hunter Mahan, and Gary Woodland are all within five shots of the lead, and have a chance to make a run on Sunday. The closet competitor to Johnson is Tiger Woods, who has won the Chevron World Challenge event four times, and is one shot back of the lead at seven under par. Tiger did have the lead after the first two rounds of play, with a three shot lead going into today's third round. However, the tough conditions at Sherwood Country Club proved to be a challenge to Woods, who wasn't able to take advantage of the par fives like his previous two rounds, carding bogeys on three of the holes. He settled for a one over par round of 73. The two are going to be paired in Sunday's final group, and when Johnson was asked about the pairing he replied,
"No, no. I've played with him a good number of times.... I'm looking forward to it,"
Johnson doesn't to be fazed at the fact that he's going to be playing Tiger, and seems confident about his strategy. So far, his strategic course management which includes laying up to all the par five holes has proved to serve him well by giving him the lead in the Chevron World Challenge. Back in the 2007 Masters, Johnson laid up to all the par fives and made a plethora amount of birdies which ultimately resulted in his win at the major tournament. Perhaps he can deploy that same strategy that led to his triumph on Sunday's final round at the Chevron World Challenge.