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Herron Beats Johnson in PGA Playoff
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
May 22, 2006

FORT WORTH, Texas - Tim Herron wishes he would have made it easier on himself. But after waiting seven years for another win on the PGA Tour, what's two more holes?

"I guess I made it more fun for the viewers, and kept them tuned in," Herron said.

Herron didn't really enjoy the ending Sunday in the Colonial until making a 9 1/2-foot birdie putt on the 382-yard No. 17, the second playoff hole, to beat Richard Johnson.

The player affectionately known as "Lumpy" led throughout the final round before scrambling at the end. He needed clutch par-saving putts on the last two holes of regulation after a bogey at the 188-yard No. 16, then two more holes to get his first victory since Bay Hill in 1999.

"It went right in the middle. I couldn't believe it," Herron said. "It's been a long time. I didn't know if it would ever come."

Johnson birdied the final two holes of regulation after he three-putted for bogey at No. 16, when he was three strokes behind Herron.

Herron closed with a 2-under 68 to match Johnson (67) at 12-under 268.

Both had long drives before settling for two-putt pars on the first playoff hole, the 433-yard No. 18. They then went to No. 17, where Johnson's approach was 25 feet short of the hole.

It was the first time since 1994 extra holes were needed at Hogan's Alley. Herron got the winner's plaid jacket and $1.08 million — more than what he made for his three previous victories combined.

"When I three-putted 16, I thought it was pretty much over," said Johnson, the 29-year-old Swede whose best PGA Tour finish had been a tie for third in Memphis three years ago.

But Johnson rolled in a 28-foot birdie putt at No. 17 to get to 11 under, and Herron was back at No. 16 making bogey for 12 under after putting his tee shot in a bunker fronting the green.

"It's never easy," the 36-year-old Herron said. "It looked like I had a two-stroke lead going into 16, and I hit a terrible shot. Now I'm grinding again."

At No. 17, Herron hit his tee shot right and his approach left. While standing over a 12-foot par putt, Herron heard a roar from the 18th green. It was Johnson making a 6-foot birdie.

Herron still made the clutch putt, then missed the green at No. 18. He pitched to 9 feet and saved par again.

Rod Pampling, who won at Bay Hill in March and was in the final group with Herron, had his second straight even-par round since his career-best 63 Friday. He finished alone in third, two strokes back.

Stephen Ames (63), hurt by a horrible third round, and Ben Crane (64) tied for fourth at 271 with Brett Quigley (66), Arron Oberholser (67), Stewart Cink (68), Peter Lonard (70) and Nathan Green (70).

While Johnson had his three-putt at No. 16, his third bogey in a round with six birdies, Herron was 13 under after a par a hole behind him.

It was at No. 15 where Pampling dropped out of a share of the lead with a double bogey. His approach went wide right and through a cart path before settling in a grass clump under a bush against a fence. He sculled that shot over and through the green.

"It was the only real bad golf shot I hit all day," said Pampling, who missed only three greens. "I didn't have a whole lot of options over there."

Even though Herron had three birdies his first four holes Sunday, he did so with some interesting plays.

After missing the fairway at the 563-yard No. 1 hole, he had a 37-yard birdie putt. At No. 3, he saved par with a blast out of the back bunker, where his second shot went after he drove well right under the trees at the 467-yard left dogleg. He hit made a 10-foot birdie at the 252-yard par-3 4th.

Herron got a members-like break at No. 5, the course's toughest hole. His tee shot was well right and headed toward the Trinity River, when it hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway. He saved par.

"I got a lucky kick," he said. "That's what you need to win."



Read more at the The Statesman

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