THOUSAND OAKS: Zach Johnson has upstaged tournament host Tiger Woods in a playoff to win the $US3.5 million ($3.85 million) World Challenge golf tournament.
Johnson salvaged a stunning par at the 72nd hole then beat Woods at the first extra hole, denying the world No.1 a sixth victory in the unofficial tournament staged for the benefit of his charitable foundation.
Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, appeared to drown his chances by hitting his second shot into the water at the final hole of regulation at Sherwood Country Club in California.
Zach Johnson smiles as caddie Damon Green celebrates after Johnson holed out from the drop zone on the 18th hole to force a play-off. Photo: Getty Images
But he holed his shot from the drop area 60 metres out to make par and complete a four-under 68.
Woods parred the 72nd hole from a greenside bunker to cap a two-under 70 that left him tied with Johnson on 13-under 275.
Johnson parred the first playoff hole as Woods - in the bunker again - missed a five-footer to extend the playoff.
Tigers Woods walks off the green as Zach Johnson is congratulated by PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell. Photo: Getty Images
‘‘Pretty impressive what he did,’’ Woods said. ‘‘He got me.’’
Johnson had to fight back from four shots down with eight holes to play.
‘‘I feel very fortunate, and a bit lucky,’’ said Johnson, who moved into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time in his career.
Australia’s Jason Day was tied for ninth in the elite 18-man field after a closing 74 while new Australian Open champion Rory McIlroy was a shot further back after a 70.
For Woods, it was only the fourth time in his career that he lost a lead of at least two shots going into the final round, the second time at Sherwood. Graeme McDowell overcame a four-shot deficit in 2010 and beat Woods in a playoff.
Woods had started the day with a two-shot lead over Johnson and led by four after Johnson bogeyed the 10th.
Johnson bounced back with birdies at 11 and 12, and when Woods bogeyed 14 the lead was down to one.
After both birdied 16, Johnson birdied 17 to send them to the 18th tee tied for the lead.
Johnson was safely in the fairway as Woods was in the rough off the tee. From a difficult hillside lie he found a bunker below the elevated green.
Johnson, however, then hit into the water. He could only laugh when his shot from the drop area took a couple of small hops and spun into the cup.