The Loop

Fields: Johnson Moves Up With 68

April 12, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Zach Johnson might not repeat as Masters champion, but he is putting up a good defense. The Iowa native posted a four-under 68 Saturday to vault from T-29 after 36 holes to T-7 at two-under 214.

Johnson's climb onto the leader board came a day after paying too much attention to where he stood in the tournament Friday en route to his second-round 76. "I think there are some mental differences for sure [between Friday and today]," Johnson said. "I think I might have looked at the board a few too many times yesterday. [I was] thinking, 'I've got to pick up some shots,' rather than letting the course and the shots come to me. There are certain courses you might be able to do that, [but] this is far from one of them."

Barring some dramatic collapses Sunday by the players leading the way -- Trevor Immelman, Steve Flesch, Brandt Snedeker and Paul Casey -- Johnson will have a lot of ground to make up. He knows how those players will be feeling tonight in position to win their first major as he did in 2007.

"You know, you've got the jitters, you've got the nerves certainly," Johnson said when asked what it feels like on the eve of a final round. "There's not any one of those guys who couldn't win a major as far as I'm concerned. It's just a matter of staying mentally fresh and not letting things get you down. You're going to get some bad breaks and hit some great shots and make pars or bogeys. It's a matter of staying in it."

Just as Johnson did with a tidy day at the office Saturday.

-- Bill Fields