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Zach Johnson posts his lowest-ever round at U.S. Open: 'Best my game has been all year'

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06/18/2017 | 03:05 am

June 18--The beauty of Zach Johnson is that he never forgets where he came from.

Talking about his stellar play Saturday at Erin Hills, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native cracked: "My motivation was the Cedar Rapids Gazette, because they came up here when I was teeing it up Saturday."

That has to be fake news, right?

This is not: Until he shot 68 Saturday, Johnson never had bettered 69 in a U.S. Open round. That seems impossible, given he has played in every Open since 2004 -- and given that his playing style is not like Bubba Watson's, slinging shots all over the yard.

Johnson is as dependable as a John Deere mower: Fairway. Green. Fairway. Green.

So did this feel like your best round, Zach?

"I try to forget about this tournament when I get done with it," he replied. "I'd really have to ponder."

Johnson is 3-under through 54 holes, his lowest U.S. Open score in relation to par after Saturday but still a country mile from the top of the leaderboard.

"This is probably the best my game has been all year," he said. "This is the best I've felt with my golf bag all the way through. I have made some changes to my putter, my irons, my driver."

Johnson used Titleist equipment for his first 12 years on tour, switching to Parson Xtreme Golf at the start of 2016.

"It wasn't a financial decision," he said. "A 40-year-old -- I'm just being factual here -- with what I've done, I'm not making decisions based on dollars. That's foolish."

So Johnson likes what's in his hands -- and the Midwestern man digs the vibe at Erin Hills.

"Yeah, there are a lot of folks here," he said. "I have relatives and a lot of friends in this state alone. I have some Drake alumni friends that live up in this vicinity. I have some relatives that came from Chicago. This is (like) northern Iowa, as far as I'm concerned."

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