One of several evangelicals on the PGA Tour, 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson is tied for 10th after yesterday’s first round of the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., trailing leaders Sergio Garcia of Spain and Marc Leishman of Australia by three strokes.
Johnson, 37, began play Thursday as he did in 2007, with a bogey on the first hole. But that was his last score above par in a round that included birdies on the second, 13th, 14th, and 18th holes, finishing with a 3-under-par 69.
While playing, Johnson uses a ball marker with Scripture on it that his wife, Kim, gave him. In an interview with College Golf Fellowship, Johnson said he deals with anxiety on the course by thinking “eternal thoughts” based on Matthew 6:33, “thoughts that just focus on the big picture: ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God.’” Johnson thanked Jesus after his 2007 Masters win and continues to talk about the role his faith plays in his life on and off the course.
Johnson meets with other Tour players during tournament weeks for a Bible study that often includes last year’s Masters champion, Bubba Watson.