Zach Johnson is two-thirds of the way to the Georgia Slam.

OK, no such achievement exists, but anything seems possible for the Masters champion in the Peach State.

"Yeah, I'm not sure what it is," he said. "You know, for whatever reason, I've had success here."

Johnson won the PGA Tour's AT&T Classic yesterday, beating Ryuji Imada with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

Johnson, also the 2004 winner, closed with a 5-under 67 to match Imada (70) at 15-under 273 on the TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth.

In the playoff on the par-5 18th, Johnson hit his second shot above the pin, then rolled a 60-footer for eagle within 5 inches of the hole. He now had his third PGA Tour victory, each of them coming in Georgia.

Imada could only offer a congratulatory handshake. His tee shot landed in the left-side rough and his 3-wood failed to clear the water in front of the green.

Laying up was not an option, Imada thought, because with Johnson in the middle of the fairway, there seemed little chance his opponent would make par.

"I don't want to second-guess myself," Imada said. "If I laid up, it was going to be a tough shot regardless. The green on 18, front left, is pretty hard. I mean having a 15-footer for birdie, you know, your chances are not good."

Seeking to become just the third player from Japan to win on the PGA Tour, Imada lost a critical stroke with a drop that all but nullified his next approach, which landed 13 feet from the pin.

For Johnson, scoring conditions the last 4 days were nothing like those at Augusta National, which endured bitterly cold wind in April when Johnson matched the highest score in Masters history at 1-over 289.

The AT&T, a suburban Atlanta event that moved from the week before the Masters to the warmer temperatures of May, offered a favorite venue for Johnson, the runner-up to Phil Mickelson last year.

Matt Kuchar (70), Camilo Villegas (71) and Troy Matteson (73) tied for third at 12 under, and Chris Tidland (68), Stephen Marino (70) and Bob Estes (70) followed at 11 under.

Mickelson, a week after winning the Players Championship, skipped the tournament. Tiger Woods and many of the world's other top golfers did the same.

"This field was great," said Johnson, who is expected to play in the Tour Championship in Atlanta in September. "It didn't have so-called marquee players that everybody knows or the media attaches to, [but] everybody that teed it up this week, for the most part . . . is going to be in the top 50, top 30, top 15 players in the world."

In other tournaments:

* At Clifton, N.J., Lorena Ochoa won for the first time since replacing Annika Sorenstam as the No. 1 player in women's golf, and put an exclamation point on it by defending her Sybase Classic title.

Ochoa caught leader Sarah Lee and finished three strokes ahead, closing with a bogey-free 4-under 68 in the event. The victory was the second of the season and the 11th of her career for the 25-year-old Mexican, who was the LPGA's top player in 2006.

* At Hoover, Ala., defending champion Brad Bryant staged another final-day comeback at the Champions Tour's Regions Charity Classic, then beat R.W. Eaks on the third hole of a playoff to become the first player to win the tournament twice.

* At Adare, Ireland, Padraig Harrington became the first Irishman to win the Irish Open in 25 years, parring the first hole of a playoff to beat Welshman Bradley Dredge.


* Former Australian Open champion Norman Von Nida, who won more than 80 titles worldwide and was a trailblazer for Australian golf, died yesterday in Gold Coast, Australia. He was 93. *