Bryson DeCham­beau ral­lies to win John Deere Clas­sic

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Third-round leader Pa­trick Rodgers knew that it would take a ton of birdies Sun­day to win the John Deere Clas­sic. Bryson DeCham­beau took that ad­vice to heart. DeCham­beau over­came a four-stroke deficit to beat Rodgers by a stroke for his first PGA Tour ti­tle - and a spot next week in the Bri­tish Open.

The 23-year-old DeCham­beau birdied four of the fi­nal six holes at TPC Deere Run for a 6un­der 65 and an 18-un­der 266 to­tal. In 2015, the un­con­ven­tional for­mer SMU star be­came the fifth player to win the NCAA in­di­vid­ual ti­tle and US Am­a­teur in the same year. The win punc­tu­ated a come­back of sorts for DeCham­beau, who capped a string of missed cuts with a 6-over fin­ish last month in the U.S. Open. “I show ev­ery­body that, ‘Look. There’s plenty of ways to do it.’ I do it my way and I feel com­fort­able do­ing it my way,” DeCham­beau said. Rodgers closed with 70.

DeCham­beau made a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to pull even with Rodgers. Rodgers then had a par putt on No. 17 lip out, and sent his tee shot on 18 into the rough. Wes­ley Bryan (64) and Rick Lamb (66) tied for third at 16 un­der, and past tour­na­ment cham­pi­ons Steve Stricker (64) and Zach John­son (67) topped the group at 15 un­der.

DeCham­beau played the front nine in even par, then birdied six of the fi­nal nine holes to surge to the top of the leader­board. Rodgers, on the other hand, had four bo­geys - and his ap­proach on No. 18 sailed past the green. Rodgers nearly chipped in from 50 feet to force a play­off, miss­ing the cup by a foot. DeCham­beau be­came the 10th first-time win­ner on the PGA Tour this sea­son. “Our ten­dency when you have the lead is to kind of hold on and play safe and guard against mak­ing mis­takes. But I had guys com­ing at me with some re­ally low rounds. Ob­vi­ously Bryson shot a great one,” said Rodgers, who re­mained win­less on the PGA Tour.

Bryan, who won the RBC Her­itage for his first ca­reer vic­tory in April, shot a 30 on the back nine. Lamb was 13 un­der for the fi­nal two rounds but was done in by pedes­trian ef­forts in the first two rounds.

Stricker, who won at TPC Deere Run from 2009-11, grabbed a share of the lead be­fore Rodgers teed off Sun­day. Stricker, 50, went 8un­der par through 14 holes to jump all the way up from 34th place. But Stricker’s only bo­gey came on the 18th hole, when his par putt grazed the cup.

“Re­al­is­ti­cally, if I could have made a cou­ple more birdies there and could have got it to 18-un­der, who knows? Just couldn’t get it in there,” Stricker said. John­son, who won the tour­na­ment in 2012 and has fin­ished in the top three six times in his last eight ap­pear­ances, chal­lenged the lead­ers yet again be­fore fall­ing back. John­son picked up bo­geys on a pair of par 4s on the back nine, and he missed a 4-foot birdie putt on 14.

“My goal was to birdie ev­ery hole and give my­self a chance on ev­ery hole. Early on it looked like my game plan was be­ing ex­e­cuted,” John­son said. Bubba Wat­son shot a 68 to fin­ish at 9 un­der. —AP

SIL­VIS: Bryson DeCham­beau poses with the cham­pi­onship tro­phy fol­low­ing the fi­nal round of the John Deere Clas­sic at TPC Deere Run on Sun­day in Sil­vis, Illi­nois. —AFP

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