SHEPHERD’S ROCK (L) a Pete Dye design at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is now open for play. The resort is in Farmington PA, and for more information please see Nemacolin.com. (R) The 16th hole on the Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison, the golf course will soon open for play. For updates stay clicked in or visit DuPageGolf.com _____________________________________________________________________
Bryson DeChambeau won for the first time on the PGA Tour, and for the first time since he won the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields, when he holed a 14 foot putt on the 18th hole to win the John Deere Classic over third round leader Patrick Rodgers by 1 shot.
DeChambeau carded rounds of 66-65-70-65 to win the championship. In Sunday’s final round, DeChambeau could only shoot an even par round score of 35, on the back nine he shot a 6 under par 30.
His winning birdie putt on 18 at first appeared that it would come up short of the hole, then in the last few inches it started to break away to the right side of the hole, and appeared that it could miss the hole. But it caught just enough of the edge to pop up and then fall back left into the cup. At that point all the birdie on 18 did for DeChambeau, was put him into a tie with second and third round leader Patrick Rodgers at 18 under par.
Rodgers playing the 17th hole that sits alongside of 18, had already hit his drive left and into the trees off the tee. As he prepared to hit his second shot he heard the roar from the gallery of DeChambeau making his birdie. Rodgers then tried to hook a shot down the fairway towards the 17th green, but hit it just solid enough that the ball ran into the right rough across the fairway.
Rodgers third shot found the front of the 17th green, but left him a short chip over a bunker to a tucked right side pin placement. The chip did not carry as far as Rodgers wanted it to, and kicked right along the fringe leaving Rodgers about 15 feet for par. The putt lipped out and DeChambeau had a one-shot lead.
Off the tee on 18, Rodgers missed the fairway right and wound up in the trees and rough, where from there he hit his second shot just over the back of the green. His chip for birdie slid just past the hole and DeChambeau had claimed his first PGA Tour win.
With the win DeChambeau earned a spot in this weeks Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. His first appearance in the championship, he earned 500 Fed Ex Cup points moving him up to 34th on the list. Final rounds of late seem to be good ones for Bryson, in the last three PGA Tour events, he is now 15 under par in the final round. DeChambeau becomes the 19th player to make the John Deere Classic their first PGA Tour title. DeChambeau was overcome by emotion during the trophy ceremony when told by John Deere CEO Sam Allen that, DeChambeau’s idol the late Payne Stewart won his first PGA Tour title in the Quad Cities.
DeChambeau became the tenth first time winner on tour this year, and is the 13th player under the age of 25 to win this year. He became the first player to win a million dollars by winning the championship, as John Deere raised the purse to $1,000,008 this year, after being in the $800,000 dollar range in previous years.
Rodgers by finishing in second place, had his career best finish on tour. His previous best was T-4 at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year. Wesley Bryan and Rick Lamb tied for third place, with Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson heading up a group tied for 5th place.
At one point during the final round three time champion Steve Stricker, and past champion and JDC board member Zach Johnson sat one and two on the leader board, and that had the galleries at Deere Run buzzing. Both both had late bogies and ran out of holes, only to see Dechambeau and Rodgers race past them.
Maverick McNealy and Northbrook Illinois native, and University of Illinois Senior Nick Hardy were paired together in rounds 3 & 4, they were the two amateurs to make the cut and play the weekend. McNealy finished as the low-amateur at 9 under par, two shots ahead of Hardy. McNealy then told the assembled media, that he would love one of the tournaments tee markers tractors as his trophy.
University of Illinois alum Brian Campbell finished at 13 under par and tied for 12th place, while Wheaton native Kevin Streelman fell back to a T-44th place with a 1 over par 72 final round score.
Next years John Deere Classic will again be played in July, according to Clair Peterson the tournament director.