Tee it up: Putting prowess propels Johnson to Open glory

USA's Zach Johnson kisses the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship
USA's Zach Johnson kisses the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship

GOLF COLUMN: JFGA Academy coaches Johnny Foster and Chris Gallagher with their weekly look at the golfing world

After a weather interrupted Open Championship, Zach Johnson came through a thrilling final day’s play to lift the Claret Jug after a three way play off with Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.

Ireland's Paul Dunne

Ireland's Paul Dunne

Johnson put on a putting clinic in the final round on his way to a 66 and a second Major Championship.

A mention must be made for amateur Paul Dunne. An experience he will never forget, being in the final group with Louis Oosthuizen on Monday afternoon.

Regardless of the result he will have learned a great deal from the experience which will hold him in great stead in the future.

The JFGA have been privileged to spend some time with Paul in the last few months.

His attitude and mentality towards the game is very refreshing, putting him in a great position to round off his amateur career with a Walker Cup appearance in September.

On the PGA Tour, the Barbasol Championship was won by American Scott Piercy. He finished on -19, beating Will Wilcox by three shots.

Amateur Robby Shelton was third, a further two shots back.

All of these fantastic performances by amateurs in the Open and in the Barbasol Championship show that today’s elite amateurs have no fear and are ready to make a seamless transition into the paid ranks.

On the Challenge Tour, former European Tour winner Rhys Davies won the Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana at La Gomera.

His opening round of 60 gave him a great head start on his way to two shot victory.

JFGA student Chris Selfridge finished T16th after his lowest ever professional round of 63 on the final day included a hole in one.

In Amateur golf, John Ross Galbraith was victorious in the North of Ireland Championship, beating Gary Collins in the final.

He adds ‘The North’ to his already impressive résumé of victories.

JFGA student William Small also closed out a five shot victory in the Munster Boys Championship last week at Mallow Golf Club. A fantastic season for William continued after a third place finish at the Ulster Boys a few weeks ago. Another JFGA student, Peter Kerr finished tied for second at Mallow after his win in the Ulster Boys. Both will be in action at this week’s Interprovincials.

This week on the European Tour, it’s the Omega European Masters at the scenic Crans Montana course in Switzerland.

Last years’ tournament was won by David Lipsky of the USA. Our first tip this week is Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. A disappointing week for him at St Andrews may be a blessing in disguise as a weekend off will have allowed him to rest and prepare for Switzerland. A strong finish last year in Crans will give him confidence to add to his already impressive season.

Our second tip is another Englishman, Danny Willett. A fantastic week for him at the Open will have shown him that he has the game to play amongst the world’s best. His world class ball striking and solid record around Crans will give him a great chance of victory this week.

Last week, we saw some fantastic imagination and solid chipping around the greens at St. Andrews. 
At the JFGA, we believe that everyone should have their own individual style to how they play their chips and pitches although certain fundamentals must be adhered to in order to achieve a consistent result.

One of those fundamentals for a standard chip shot is a little bit of shaft lean at impact. In other words, for the hands to be positioned slightly ahead of the ball at impact. We see so many amateur golfers who get anxious and let their trail side (right side for RH golfers) take over and dominate. A simple yet effective drill we use is getting them to hit chips with their lead hand only.

In the instance of a right hander, they would place their left hand on the club and simply feel that the club is an extension of the arm with the shaft leaning slightly forward. And the goal is simply to hit the shot with one arm only, maintaining that extension.

After practicing this you will start to feel more consistent strikes with your chipping and each side of your body will realise what their importance is in the chip shot.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to find out more about the Johnny Foster Golf Academy please visit www.johnnyfostergolfacademy.com to view details on our coaching offers and summer junior camps. Until next time...