Saturday, February 26, 2011

For Johnson Wagner, Another Win Is One Day Away

   Sunday could be a huge day for Charlotte's Johnson Wagner.

   Wagner takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico, the other PGA Tour event being played this week. It doesn't have the stars like all those who have gradually been culled from the field at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship but it still has plenty of players and would be a terrific victory for Wagner.

   Even if Wagner doesn't win, a good finish can go a long way toward easing his mind. He started this season without a full exemption on tour and needs to make the most of the starts he gets, particularly early when it's tough to get in smaller fields. He's doing that in Mexico.

   Talking with Wagner before he left Charlotte for the Mayakoba, he sounded like a guy who really believed he was close to a week like he's having. He's been disappointed by his relative lack of success since winning the Shell Houston Open two years ago but he finished strong last year, even if he missed keeping his card by one stroke.

   He said he was nervous Saturday early in the third round and he's sure to feel even more nerves in the final round. When he beat Paul Casey to win at Houston, his only PGA Tour win, Wagner said he was almost shaking on the final green. That's understandable.

    But he knows now that he can do it which should surely help today. Wagner has a ton of talent and is one of the really good guys on tour or anywhere else. A win can redirect his career and a good finish will take some pressure off.

    Wagner is having to do it the hard way this year, not being fully exempt. But a good day Sunday could make things a whole lot easier.