Stallings and Co. win Zach Johnson Foundation Classic


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CEDAR RAPIDS — A changed date and a strong showing from PGA Tour golfers made for a successful golf tournament on Monday. Cedar Rapids native and PGA Tour golfer Zach Johnson hosted the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. The Pro-Am tournament featured two divisions of 16 professional golfers and 11 celebrity golfers who were each combined with four more people to make teams of five.

The format for the tournament was called “Shambles.” In this format, the best drive of the five players is chosen. From the spot of the best drive, all players play their own shots to finish the hole. The two best balls of the five players are scored.

In the professional division, PGA Tour player Scott Stallings and his group of David Shaff, Michael Gargano, Fred Haumesser, and Dennis Henderson shot 36 under to win by 3 strokes. In the celebrities division, Northern Iowa basketball coach Ben Jacobson and his group of Steve Sukup, Andy Schmitt, Mark Moores, and Matt Koch shot 32-under to win by 1 stroke.

The four amateurs in Stallings’ group looked impressive, winning in their matching 1970s-floral-patterned bright green shorts. Stallings said his group got off to a bad start on the first hole.

“The 17th hole is 130 yards, and they all missed the green,” Stallings said. “I told them, ‘Boys, we have a long way to go.’ ”

His team listened. Stallings said he played decently but his teammates did all the scoring.

Even though Stallings gave credit to his teammates, Johnson spoke about the level of competitiveness of the PGA Tour players at his event.

“It’s not like they want to come here and make bogeys; they’re going come here and try to make birdies,” Johnson said.  “There are 18 holes, 18 tee boxes, so there is a competition involved.”

With the John Deere Classic beginning on Thursday in Silvis, Illinois, many PGA Tour players were headed to the area.

“Changing the date this year was one ingredient to see if it could help,” Johnson said.

The strong showing validated his adjustment from years past.

Because of that change, spectators got the opportunity to see professionals such as Stallings, Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Steve Stricker participate in a skills challenge on the driving range. The professionals took shots breaking three squares of glass placed at different distances approximately 100 yards away and 50 yards in the air.

Spieth and Stricker proved their outstanding putting abilities by sinking tricky long-distance putts.

Spieth said it was an easy decision for him to come and play to help Johnson’s foundation.

While his foundation was the focus of the day, Johnson was pleased with the amount of support his fellow players on the PGA Tour that were present. He said he has no expectations in terms of attendance or performance.

The feeling was mutual.

“It’s really cool he invited me and wanted me to be a part of it, and I’m able to learn from one of the best organizations that an individual the PGA Tour has,” Spieth said.

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