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Spieth Gets Breakthrough First Tour Victory
After closing with a spectacular 6-under 65, teenager Jordan Spieth survived a five-hole sudden-death playoff to win the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
In addition to collecting $828,000, the Dallas native earned a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and qualified for this week's British Open at Muirfield.
Spieth finished at 19-under 265 thanks to a hole-out birdie on the par-4 18th from a greenside bunker that tied him in regulation with Canada's David Hearn (69) and defending champion Zach Johnson (68). The three players then went four extra holes - tying each one, before playing the 18th hole for the third time in the extra session.
After driving into the right rough, Spieth split trees with his approach, his ball rolling through the green and onto the back fringe. From there he two-putted for the winning par; earlier, Hearn couldn't get his second shot on the green and Johnson found water with his approach.
Spieth, who had an illustrious amateur career that included two victories in the U.S. Junior Amateur, a feat attained only by Tiger Woods, turns 20 on July 27th. With the Deere victory, he became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Ralph Guldahl in the 1931 Santa Monica Open.
Spieth has been knocking on the door all year long. In 15 events, he's logged five top-10 finishes, including a tie for second in the Puerto Rico Open in March.
A stunned Spieth said at greenside on Sunday, "I owe 100 percent of (the win) to my family, my friends back home. I'm so happy to win the John Deere."
Finishing in a tie for fourth at 266 and a shot out of the playoff were Americans Martin Flores (63), Jerry Kelly (68) and Daniel Summerhays (72). Summerhays, who carded a 10-under 62 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead entering the final round, posted five birdies and six bogeys.
Flores' 63 was Sunday's low round. "I did my best today, I'm happy with what I did," he told PGATour.com. "I was super-pumped about how I struck the ball and how I got the ball in the hole. I've been working hard and finally the results came."
Sharing seventh at 267 were 36-hole leader Patrick Reed (67), J.J. Henry (69) and Australia's Matt Jones (68). Three-time Deere champion Steve Stricker had a closing 66 to tie for 10th with Jim Herman (67). Tied for 12th at 269 were Aussie Steven Bowditch (65) and Americans Kevin Sutherland (69) and Nicholas Thompson (70).
Amateur Patrick Rodgers had a nice tournament. The Stanford junior posted a 69 to end up tied for 15th at 270 with six others.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.
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