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John Senden happy with lack of attention

Australia's John Senden has no problem being overshadowed by Masters champion Zach Johnson at this week's John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

Although Senden is defending the title he won by a stroke last year at the TPC Deere Run, he is happy for local favorite Johnson to capture the limelight.

"Zach is the highest-ranked player this week, he is the Masters champion and a multiple winner," Senden told reporters on Wednesday as he prepared for Thursday's opening round.

"And with Zach being almost a local player, the fans are really loving him being out here. He's definitely an asset to this tournament and the Tour.

"I had a practice round yesterday with Zach and really enjoyed it. I hadn't played with him for a number of years and it was good to watch him play again after his two victories this year."

Johnson, a native of neighboring state Iowa, claimed his maiden major title at Augusta National in April before winning the inaugural AT&T Classic the following month.

Ranked 15 in the world, he is the only member of the top 20 playing this week in the last PGA Tour event before the British Open at Carnoustie.

Although Johnson is understandably the tournament's headline act, Senden likes his own chances of a successful title defense.

"My game is still improving this year and I feel like I'm in a better position right now than I was at this time last year," the 36-year-old from Brisbane said.

"The last 12 months have been really exciting. You get that nice respect from players coming up to you and saying: 'Well done' and you feel different because you've actually achieved one of your goals."

Senden clinched his first PGA Tour title in 139 starts at Deere Run last year and went on to win the Australian Open in November with a sparkling seven-under-par 65 in the final round.

Although he has produced erratic form on the PGA Tour this season, with just two top 10s in 17 starts, he believes he is close to his best.

"Look, last week I had an up-and-down week at Congressional where I finished 40th," he said, referring to the Tiger Woods-hosted AT&T National. "But I shot three-under on Sunday. I feel good."


July 12, 2007

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