Planet Golf — 12 July 2013 by GW staff and news services
Spieth, 19, wins John Deere

SILVIS, Ill. — Nineteen-year-old Jordan Spieth outlasted David Hearn and Zach Johnson on the fifth hole of a playoff to win the John Deere Classic on Sunday, becoming the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years.

Spieth, who doesn’t turn 20 for another two weeks, hit a two-foot par putt to earn full status on the PGA Tour and a chance to play in the FedExCup Playoffs. He makes his debut in the FedExCup standings at No. 11 and, as a bonus, gains a spot in the British Open field at Muirfield. He is also the first teenager to win a title win since Ralph Guldahl took the Santa Monica Open in 1931.

“I didn’t think it would happen this early,” said Spieth, who turned professional in December. “I had a plan. I guess the plan got exceeded.”

Spieth started the day six shots behind third-round leader Daniel Summerhays. But he forced his way into the playoff by holing out of the bunker from 44 feet on the final hole of regulation.

Spieth got lucky when that shot took a pair of fortuitous bounces. But he also put himself in that position with a brilliant final round.

“The shot on 18 was the luckiest shot I ever hit in my life,” Spieth said. “The fact that it bounced right and hit the pin and dropped down to the cup, it’s just extremely fortunate.”

Spieth, Hearn and Johnson then made par on the first four playoff holes, but Spieth made another par to stave off Johnson and Hearn on the fifth.

Johnson, the defending champion at TPC Deere Run, seized control midway through the final round of regulation, but he simply couldn’t get enough birdies to put the field away, and his uncharacteristic bogey on No. 18 set up a three-man playoff.

All three players had their chances to make a playoff-ending shot — with Johnson narrowly missing from the back of the green on a chip shot that clipped the cup on the first playoff hole.

Johnson hit the ground in disbelief. It would turn out to be the closest he would get to victory.

“I had my chances on the back side in regulation. I mean, I hit some really good shots and just didn’t make anything,” Johnson said.

Hearn also had a shot at the win, which would have been his first on the PGA Tour, as well. But he missed a makeable putt on the fourth playoff hole.

“Congrats to Jordan. He’s going to have an amazing career, obviously. He’s an incredible talent to come on Tour at his age and have as much success as quickly as he has. So hat’s off to him,” Hearn said.

Spieth, Hearn and Johnson all went right on their final tee shot. Spieth scrambled out of the rough, though, finding the back of the green to save par and win his first event.

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy were all 20 when they earned their first victories, but none of them could match Spieth, who is now the fourth-youngest winner in Tour history.

“Just got so lucky. That’s what it is. But right now I’m extremely pleased, and a little worried about only having short sleeves going to Scotland,” Spieth said.

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth^ 70-65-65-65—265 (-19); Zach Johnson 64-66-67-68—265 (-19); David Hearn  66-66-64-69—265 (-19); Martin Flores 67-67-69-63—266 (-18); Jerry Kelly 68-64-66-68—266 (-18); Daniel Summerhays 65-67-62-72—266 (-18)

*Won with a par-4 on the fifth hole of sudden death.

Jordan Spieth

— Spieth claims his first PGA Tour win at the age of 19 years, 11 months and 18 days in his 49th career start, extending exempt status through the 2014-2015 season.

— Spieth becomes the youngest player to win on Tour sine Johnny McDermott won the 1911 U.S. Open at the age of 19 years, 10 months and 14 days.

— Spieth began the week as a Special Temporary Member, who started the season with no PGA Tour status. He played this week’s John Deere Classic on his own number and holed a 45-foot bunker shot on the 72nd hole for birdie and a 6-under 65, resulting in sudden death with defending  champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn. Spieth won with a par on the fifth extra hole.

— As a Special Temporary Member, Spieth needed a win to become a regular member in order to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. With the win, his 614 Non-Member points become retroactive and are added to the 500 he earns for the win, giving him 1,114 points. With that, Spieth is projected to move inside the top 20 in FedExCup standings, safely securing his spot in the FedExCup Playoffs. (Top 125 players plus ties through the Wyndham Championship qualify for The Barclays).

— With the win, Spieth earns the last spot into this week’s The Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland. Since 1934, only 10 players have followed a win with a major championship title the next week. The last to do so was Tiger Woods in 2007, when he won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational the week before claiming his fourth PGA Championship crown.

— If not otherwise exempt, Spieth earns a spot into these additional 2013 and 2014 PGA Tour events: 2013 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, 2013 PGA Championship, 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, 2014 Masters Tournament.

— This was the ninth playoff in tournament history. The longest playoff at this event came in 1981, when Dave Barr defeated Woody Blackburn, Dan Halldorson, Frank Conner and Victor Regalado on the eighth extra hole. It remains tied for the second longest playoff in PGA Tour history (11 holes/1949 Motor City Open).

— This was the seventh playoff of the 2013 PGA Tour season. None of the previous six made it beyond two holes.

— This was the longest playoff since John Huh defeated Robert Allenby on the eighth extra hole at last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

— Spieth is a rookie and is eligible for the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award at the end of the year.

— Spieth was the sixth youngest player to make a cut at 16 years, 9 months, 24 days during the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship (T16).

— Spieth becomes the 15th different American winner of the John Deere Classic since 1990 (versus four internationals).

— Spieth becomes the 19th different American to win this year (versus six internationals).

— Spieth becomes the 19th player to make the John Deere Classic his first win, and first to do so since John Senden in 2006.

— He becomes the 11th first-time winner of the 2013 season.

— He was a first-team All-America as a freshman at the University of Texas.

— Spieth won the U.S. Junior Amateur twice (2009 and 2011) to become the only golfer other that Tiger Woods to have won that championship multiple times.

Zach Johnson

— For the second straight year, Johnson found himself in extra holes trying to come away with the title. This time, he settled for T2 honors with David Hearn. Johnson’s playoff record is now 3-1 (2007 AT&T Classic, 2009 Valero Texas Open and 2012 John Deere Classic).

— Johnson’s 3-under 68 today marks his 20th consecutive round in the 60s at TPC Deere Run, dating to round one of 2009.

— In his first six years in this event, from 2002-2007, Johnson played TPC Deere Run in a combined 19-under. Since 2008, he has played in a collective 81-under (regulation only).

— Johnson played rounds one and two this week bogey free. His first of four this week came No. 6 in round three, ending his run of consecutive bogey-free holes at the John Deere Classic at 63. Johnson did not make a bogey in his final 21 holes last year.

— Johnson made eight straight pars in round four on hole Nos. 9-16, the longest birdie-free stretch in a round at TPC Deere Run since posting 14 straight pars on hole Nos. 1-14 in round two of 2011.

— Johnson has now played 42 competitive rounds at TPC Deere Run, with 36 being at par-or-better.

— Johnson will be making his 10th consecutive start in this week’s The Open Championship, with his best finish being T9 last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

David Hearn

— With his playoff loss, Hearn’s claimed his career-best finish this week, bettering this year’s only other top-10 finish, a T8 at the Puerto Rico Open.

— Hearn has 107 previous starts on Tour and now has a total of seven top-10 finishes. His previous best week came at the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open where he tied for fifth place.

— This was Hearn’s fourth career start at the John Deere Classic – T46 in 2005, T68 in 2011 and a missed cut  in 2012.

Martin Flores

— Texas native Flores posted a career-low 8-under 63 in round four, highlighted by six birdies and an eagle.

— With his T4 honors, Flores picks up his second top-10 finish of the season this week in his 20th start on Tour. In April, he finished T10 at the Valero Texas Open. Prior to this week, Flores’ career-best finish was sixth place at the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.

— With rounds of 67-67-69-63, this marks the fourth time in Flores’ career to post four consecutive rounds in the 60s in an event, and first since the 2012 RBC Canadian Open (T19).

— Flores was making his third start at this week’s John Deere Classic. Prior to last year’s T58 finish, he missed the cut in 2010.

Steve Stricker

— The 2009-2011 John Deere Classic champion posted a 5-under 66 in the final round to finish T10, his seventh top-10 finish in 12 starts here. With tournament scores of -20 (2009), -26 (2010), -22 (2011), -16 (2012) and -16 (2013), Stricker is now 100-under-par in the last five years at TPC Deere Run.

Patrick Rodgers

— In his first start on the PGA Tour this year, and third overall, rising Stanford University senior Patrick Rodgers posted rounds of 67-69-65-69—270/-14, good for T15 honors. Before this week, the best 2013 finish by an amateur on the PGA TOUR belonged to Justin Thomas, who finished T30 at the Travelers Championship.

— In his other two starts, Rodgers missed the cut at the Travelers Championship (72-73) and the John Deere Classic (67-74) last year. Rodgers is a native of Avon, Ind., outside of Indianapolis.

Tournament Notes:

The John Deere Classic has produced 19 first-time PGA Tour winners over the years – six of those have come at TPC Deere Run (Michael Clark, 2000; David Gossett, 2001; Mark Hensby, 2004; Sean O’Hair, 2005; John Senden, 2006).

— Beginning the week, there were 26 players in this field scheduled to compete The Open Championship at Muirfield. With Phil Mickelson’s win at the Scottish Open paving the way for first alternate Scott Stallings, all 27 players will be taking advantage of the John Deere Classic’s chartered flight across the pond. They are: Jonas Blixt, Keegan Bradley, Scott Brown, Bud Cauley, K.J. Choi, Brian Davis,  Ken Duke, David Duval, Harris English, Lucas Glover, Luke Guthrie, Todd Hamilton, John Huh, Zach Johnson, Robert Karlsson, Ryan Moore, Louis Oosthuizen, Carl Pettersson, D.A. Points, John Senden, Scott Stallings, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Streelman, Camilo Villegas, Nick Watney, Boo Weekley, Y.E. Yang

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