DeCham­beau look­ing to re­peat at John Deere Clas­sic

Yuma Sun - - SUN SPORTS -

For the first time in his PGA Tour ca­reer, Bryson DeCham­beau will en­ter a tour­na­ment look­ing to de­fend a ti­tle.

DeCham­beau’s break­through on the PGA Tour came last year at the John Deere Clas­sic, which tees off on Thurs­day at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illi­nois. Af­ter en­ter­ing the fi­nal round four strokes off the pace, DeCham­beau birdied six of his fi­nal nine holes for a one-shot win over Pa­trick Rodgers.

DeCham­beau will en­ter this year’s event as a strong con­tender to re­peat as its cham­pion as well.

With most of golf’s big names play­ing the Scot­tish Open in prepa­ra­tion for next week’s British Open at Carnoustie, DeCham­beau is the high­est-ranked golfer in the field.

The 24-year old DeCham­beau is sixth in the FedEx Cup stand­ings af­ter win­ning the Memo­rial Tour­na­ment ear­lier this sea­son. He is also 22nd in this week’s world rank­ing.

“There has been a lot of things that have hap­pened over the past cou­ple years, grow­ing a lot def­i­nitely, and just learn­ing how to make bet­ter decisions for my body, my health, my game, and fig­ur­ing out ways to ex­e­cute shots bet­ter and more on de­mand,” DeCham­beau said.

Two of the most notable names in the Quad Cities event are Steve Stricker and Zach John­son— a pair of Mid­west­ern­ers who make it a point to play the TPC Deere Run ev­ery sum­mer.

Three of Stricker’s 12 ca­reer wins came at the JDC from 2009-11, and he fin­ished tied for fifth a year ago.

John­son grew up an hour west of the course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is so con­nected to the tour­na­ment that he’s on the board of di­rec­tors. John­son, who has shot 37 con­sec­u­tive rounds of par or bet­ter at TPC Deere Run, tied for 12th at this year’s U.S. Open.

I “feel re­ally good. I think if my cad­die was up here he would be more hon­est. He feels re­ally good. When your cad­die feels con­fi­dent in what you’re do­ing you know you got some stuff go­ing,” John­son said.

A pair of in­ter­na­tional golfers— Joaquin Nie­mann of Chile and Francesco Moli­nari of Italy — are play­ing about as well as any­one in the field head­ing into the week­end.

Nie­mann, just 19, has four top-10 fin­ishes in nine PGA Tour starts and has al­ready earned a spe­cial tem­po­rary mem­ber­ship af­ter post­ing back-to-back top 10s ear­lier this sea­son.

Moli­nari won the last PGA Tour event he played, the Quicken Loans Na­tional, by shoot­ing 8-un­der in the fi­nal round. Moli­nari also won in Eng­land on the Euro­pean Tour in May.

“I think for me be­ing Euro­pean, ob­vi­ously first thing was to come over here and prove my­self. So to get the first win al­ready, I think it’s a big achieve­ment,” Moli­nari said. “But I’m young enough or not old enough to think that I’ve got a few years in front of me, and def­i­nitely the goal is to win more,” Moli­nari said.

Dy­lan Meyer, a for­mer All-Amer­i­can from Illi­nois who fin­ished tied for 20th at the U.S. Open, leads the list of young golfers com­pet­ing on spon­sor’s ex­emp­tions — a tra­di­tion that’s be­come a big part of the John Deere Clas­sic.

DeCham­beau and John­son com­peted at TPC Deere Run on ex­emp­tions early in their ca­reers, and Jor­dan Spi­eth won his first ca­reer ti­tle while on one in 2013.

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