DeChambeau rallies to win John Deere
SILVIS, Ill. — 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 6-under 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 U.S. Amateur in the same year.
The win punctuated a comeback of sorts for DeChambeau, who capped a string of eight consecutive missed cuts last month in the U.S. Open — where he was 6 over for two rounds.
“I was able to right the ship about three or four weeks ago, and it’s been steady Eddie ever since,” DeChambeau said. “It is vindication.” Rodgers closed with 70. DeChambeau made a 14foot 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.
“He’s a great competitor, and I was kind of shocked he bogeyed 17,” DeChambeau said about Rodgers. “I thought I was going to be in a playoff.”
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,” said Rodgers, who remained winless on the PGA Tour. “But I had guys coming at me with some really low rounds. Obviously, Bryson shot a great one.”
Bryan, who won the RBC Heritage in April for his first career victory, 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.